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 medals. China hope to improve on their performance at home, after they fell short of the mark on all four World Grand Prix Top 2 appearances 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, with the wisdom of coach Lang Ping paired with a bevy of young, talented players like Zhu Ting, Zhang Changning and Yuan Xinyue.
After consecutive gold medals in 2013 and 2014, Brazil lost its momentum in 2015 and settled for bronze. They came back in 2016 with a fantastic effort and 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.
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.
Published : February 27, 2017
By : Agencies Lausanne, Switzerland