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Volleyball - 16. July 2014.

17th Asian Women's U19 Volleyball Championship kicks off in Taipei

Taipei city is set to host the 17th Asian Women's U19 Volleyball Championship from July 16-24, with 15 teams competing for honours and three tickets for next year’s FIVB Volleyball Women's U20 World Championship at stake.

The 15 teams are divided into four pools with a single round robin system in place for the preliminary round, which will be played over three days. The top two teams from each pool will advance to the quarterfinals, while the lower-ranked sides will compete in the 9th-15th classification round.

Pool A only consists of three teams: hosts Chinese Taipei, Iran and Sri Lanka. China, Kazakhstan, New Zealand and Vietnam are in Pool B. Pool C includes Japan, India, Turkmenistan and Hong Kong (China). Thailand, Korea, Australia and Macao are in Pool D. Favourites include China, Japan, Korea, Kazakhstan, Thailand, and Chinese Taipei, who will be expected to qualify for the top eight.

The first two matches will kick off simultaneously at 11.00 on July 16 with Japan playing Hong Kong at the Taipei University Gymnasium, which serves as the main competition venue, and Australia versus Korea at the Taipei Gymnasium. Hosts Chinese Taipei will play their first match against Sri Lanka at 19.00 local time. The match will take place at the main venue, following the competition's opening ceremony which begins at 18.00.

To make sure the championship is well-prepared ahead of the kickoff on Wednesday, the joint meeting between the local organisers and the Control Committee took place on Monday morning at the Santos Hotel. In the meeting, Control Committee Chairman Mr Shanrit Wongpraset expressed his sincere gratitude for the hard work put in by the Organising Committee on behalf of the AVC President Dr. Bin Nasser and the Control Committee Members.

"We are here to cooperate and work with the Organising Committee instead of supervise. It is not the first time for Taipei to organise this Championship. I believe the tournament will have a smooth organisation and the best success," said Mr Shanrit. The joint meeting finalised the schedule of all the activities and an initial venue inspection was conducted by the Control Committee Members.

It is the second time Taipei is hosting the Asian Junior Volleyball Championship. The last editon of the competition held in the city took place in 2008. The Chinese Taipei team, as hosts, are aiming to put in a strong performance at the championship. "Our best result is second place, respectively in 2012 and 2008. This time our target is to get the gold medal," said head coach Mai Chien Chung.

The China team are favourites for the final title. Their average height is up to 1.86m and spike height reach an impressive 3.15m. "Our team is made up of players from the former national youth team, who competed at the FIVB Girls' U18 World Championship 2013. And we also selected some potential young players from clubs to strengthen the team. We are now in very good condition and of course we are here to get the gold medals," said Xu Jiande, head coach of China.

Team New Zealand are also keen to do well. They arrived in Taipei early on July 9 and have had several days training in Taipei before the Championship.

The Asian Women’s U19 Volleyball Championship used to be called the Asian Junior Volleyball Championship. It is held every two years. The top three this year will qualify directly to the FIVB Women's U20 World Championship 2015. Korea won the championship once - in the first edition. China (10 times) and Japan (five times) have shared the honours since.

Taipei will host also the Universiade 2017 from August 19-30, 2017. As part of the preparation for the Universiade, the Asian Women’s U19 Volleyball Championship has received great support from the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee, Taipei Municipal Government and Ministry of Education.
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