Coaches of the 20 teams gathered together for the official photo ahead of the competition in Santa Fe
Santa Fe, Argentina, August 17, 2017 - With 20 world-class teams in contest, 2017 FIVB Volleyball Girls’ U18 World Championship is scheduled to begin Friday on the Argentinean cities of Rosario and Santa Fe as a fantastic opportunity to witness some brand new female talents while they develop to become the stars of tomorrow.
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On Thursday evening, Santa Fe welcomed all teams for an official presentation event, which included a General Technical Meeting and a protocol dinner to formally open the competition agenda. As women’s volleyball is very popular on the whole Santa Fe province, the excitement is through the roof ahead of the tournament.
That interest stands as the reason for the host girls to feel more at home than ever. “We are finishing a long period that has lasted more than one and a half year, so we are looking forward to begin. We have three girls in the national team who are actually from this province (Santa Fe) and I am practically playing at home. It is a beautiful occasion for us and we hope to have the best possible tournament,” Argentina head coach Estanislao Matías Vachino affirms.
Also playing the first round in Santa Fe will be European champions Russia, with a goal focused on the future. “In this tournament we would like to see new faces. This competition will help us a lot to develop new talents and new positions in the players we are bringing. We look forward to reach the finals - It is a great commitment and also a great motivation, so we hope that this World Championship can show us who our best prospects are,” says head coach Alexander Karikov.
Meanwhile, defending champions and European runner-ups Italy will begin their path in Rosario, with a new generation of players leading the charge at Pool C. Head coach Marco Mencarelli explains not only the build-up of the team but also what to expect from the girls: “We had four players (Enweonwu, Morello, Lubian and Pietrini) on the U21 competition so the group was complete afterwards, and we could face the last part of our long preparation that way. This is a different roster than the one on 2015 and I’m confident it is a good and promising team, one that can take us far in the tournament. It’s hard to compare with an extraordinary player as Paola Egonu, but these girls are growing properly and have skills to keep improving.”
Last but not least, Pool D seems full of interesting matches as all five teams share medal desires and three of them have won the tournament in past editions - Turkey, China and Japan. The latter are the current Asian champions and head coach Daichi Saegusa dreams of a similar ending in Argentinean soil: “We have prepared against strong teams like Brazil, Italy and USA, to be ready for the difficult first-round pool we have. I can’t predict our result but we aim to reach the final day playing for the gold medal and being world champions. For that we have to be focused day after day and I look forward for the team to progress as the days go on.”