Arena Carioca 1 will host the group B for FIVB Grand Prix
Rio de Janeiro Brazil, June 8, 2016 - The FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix 2016 Group 1 officially begins on Friday, with Brazil, Italy, Japan and Serbia all getting ready to experience the Olympic atmosphere in Rio.
The action will unfold at Arena Carioca 1, where basketball will take place during the Olympic Games, but this week it will welcome some of the world's best volleyball players.
For Brazil coach José Roberto "Ze Roberto" Guimarães, everything is leading to Rio 2016.
"The FIVB World Grand Prix will be the only tournament that we will play before the Olympics," he said. "We will have the opportunity to see other teams in action and we will adjust our group and clear some doubts in our formation."
Fernanda Garay was also keen to get on the court, eyeing up the Italians in their opening match.
"We are still studying their team, but we know that are new players and they played very well at the World Olympic Qualification Tournament," Fe Garay said. "It will be a difficult game, but we are well prepared."
And for Olympic champion Dani Lins, playing infront of the Brazilian fans will once again be a treat.
"The Grand Prix is very important to gain pace of play," she said. "It is the competition where we will find the teams that will be in the Olympics. We will also have a chance to play in front of our fans in Rio de Janeiro, which will be very good.
"We want to see the pressure of playing at home as a positive and the public has always supported us."
Whilst Brazil have had time to plan out their preparations for Rio 2016, the same can't be said for Japan, who have just qualified for the Games.
"We just finished our participation in FIVB World Olympic Qualification, the players are very tired, so we will use the largest possible number of athletes to define the final list of the Olympics," coach Manabe Masayoshi said. "Serbia has a tall team with great attackers and a strong block. It will be a tough game, but we are confident we can do our best."
It was a similar story for Italy, who also recently earned their berth to Rio 2016.
"I guess that the FIVB Grand Prix is an important step for us, because here we don't have our most experienced athletes," coach Marco Bonitta revealed. "They stay in Italy to rest and will join us next week. It will be a good oportunity to the youngest players and it will be great to put us in a better situation at the Olympics."
Serbian wing spiker Sanja Malagurski said that fatigued was not something that troubled her side having claimed their Olympic ticket during last years FIVB Volleyball Women's World Cup.
"I am very happy to be back in Brazil, I hope to have a good match against Italy tomorrow," she added. "I will have the opportunity to see friends who I played here. Our team is feeling fresh because we conquer our spot in the Olympics last November, so we have time to prepare. We have a strong team and I believe we can win a medal in both the Grand Prix as the Olympic Games."