Lausanne, Switzerland, February 24, 2017 – The FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix is embarking on a new journey, featuring a record number of 32 teams participating in the competition for the first time ever.
The 32 teams will be split into three groups – 12 teams in Groups 1 and 2, and eight teams in Group 3. The preliminary round will take place over three weeks between July 7 and 23. It will be followed by the Group 3 Finals in Canberra, Australia from July 22 to 23, Group 2 Finals in Ostrava, Czech Republic from July 28 to 30 and the Group 1 Finals in Nanjing, China from August 2 to 6.
China, one of the two nations that have participated in all editions of the tournament, are seeking to continue their reign in women’s volleyball after a stellar gold medal winning performance at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The Asian squad is counting on home court advantage in Nanjing to add another medal to their tally of one gold, five silver and three bronze World Grand Prix medals. China will also hope to improve on their performances in front of their fans, after they fell short of the mark on all four World Grand Prix Top 2 appearances held in Ningbo and Chinese territories Macau and Hong Kong.
China played in the World Grand Prix Group 1 Finals in Bangkok, Thailand, but did not make it to the podium in 2016.
The outlook seems to be bright for the hosts, however, with the wisdom of coach Lang Ping paired with a bevy of young, talented players like Zhu Ting, Zhang Changning and Yuan Xinyue.Top Chinese player Zhu Ting is one of the fiercest hitters in women’s volleyball, but she also shows her depth on defence.Outside spiker Changning Zhang shows superb blocking against Germany in the 2016 World Grand Prix.
After consecutive gold medals in 2013 and 2014, Brazil lost their momentum in 2015 and settled for bronze. They came back in 2016 with a fantastic effort and an outstanding performance to secure gold. The South Americans are the record title winners with a total of 18 victories to their name, including 11 gold, five silver and two bronze medals.Brazil claimed their record 11th gold medal in the World Grand Prix in 2016.
The United States are also top contenders in the competition with six gold, one silver and two bronze medals. USA is the only team to have matched Brazil’s three-peat at the World Grand Prix from 2010 to 2012.USA persevered and prevailed in this intense match-point play against Germany at the 2016 World Grand Prix.
Watch the most memorable moments from the 2016 World Grand Prix that saw Brazil walk away with the winners’ trophy.