Włocławek, Poland, June 9, 2016 - Tickets have nearly sold out as fans prepare for another weekend of volleyball action with Pool D2 of the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix tournament set to unravel in Włocławek, Poland.
All team coaches and captains stressed the tournament’s importance for a good performance from their teams - those qualified for the Olympics and those working for their position in in the volleyball world alike - at today’s press conference.
Kenya captain Mercy Moim said her side had a difficult opening round, losing all three matches and winning just one set. But she is hoping for a more positive outcome this week.
“First of all I would like to thank Poland for a very warm welcome. We have lost in the first round, but we are here to fight and I am sure that we can win some matches and stay in the second group. I wish all the best to our opponents.”
Her thoughts were echoed by coach David Lung’aho.
“We have played not so well, but we are here to continue fighting,” he said. “The atmosphere and weather are great, similar to Kenyan, so we are really happy. We have lost in the first round, but we want to show our best this weekend.”
Argentina had a mixed start on weekend 1, winning two and losing one match. Captain Emilce Sosa has targeted a better performance from her team also.
“This tournament is very important for us,” she said. “We need to play better than last week. We have an opportunity to improve our volleyball and we want to use this chance to show it in the next three days.”
For coach Guillermo Orduna, this weekend is another opportunity to rehearse for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
“For us this tournament is very important, because we need to raise our level -we will play at the Olympics and we need to improve our game,” he said. “Our opponents are strong and we need to focus.”
Poland will be performing in front of their home fans for a second week in a row. That fact is not lost on home captain Joanna Wolosz.
“What can I say? We are after the first tournament,” she said. “Unfortunately we could not finish with a final win, but our performance in Zielona Góra was quite good. Our goal remains the same, we want to be in the Final Four. We need to improve the game and we will be even better this time. As a team captain I can promise that we will show our best and try to please the spectators.”
Coach Jacek Nawrocki had a similar message. “It is an important place for me, because I used to play in a Wloclawek’s team about 25 years ago, but it is history now,” he expressed. “I hope that our team will do everything to leave here a good impression of our game, show our fighting spirit as we did in Zielona Góra. We are aware that there are very good teams here which are also playing for the final, but we will do our best.”
Puerto Rico are on a high, in every sense of the word. Confidence is oozing out of the side after qualifying for the Olympic Games at the end of May, and they ended the opening weekend unbeaten with three wins.
Captain Yarimar Rosa wants that momentum to continue.
“Last weekend was really great for us,” she claimed. “We have worked very hard and our goal is to qualify for the Final Four tournament. We want to use these games against Poland, Kenya and Argentina to improve our game before the Olympic Games.”
But for coach Juan Carlos Nunez, focus is everything.
“It is very important for the team to stay focused, especially before the Olympics. We need to raise our level, we have our programme and this World Grand Prix weekend is an important point when thinking about Rio.”