FIVB Announces 2009 World Grand Prix Schedule

May 14, 2009, 9:38 p.m. (ET)

Bill Kauffman
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: 719-228-6800

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 14, 2009) – The FIVB has announced the competition schedule for its 2009 FIVB World Grand Prix, which begins July 31 with three consecutive weekends of preliminary rounds concluding with the Finals Aug. 19-23 at Tokyo.

The 2009 edition involves 12 national teams playing a total of 69 matches over four consecutive weekends in 10 cities. The preliminary rounds are set to take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Kielce, Poland and Ningbo, China, on the first weekend, Miao Li, Chinese Taipei, Macau, China, and Osaka, Japan, the second weekend and Hong Kong, Mokpo, Korea and Bangkok, Thailand, the third weekend.

The U.S. Women’s National Team opens the premier annual women’s international tournament at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as part of Pool A. The Americans begin the tournament versus Germany on July 31, followed by NORCECA rival Puerto Rico on Aug. 1. On Aug. 2, the FIVB will have its featured match of the preliminary round as top-ranked and 2008 Olympic Games gold medalist Brazil hosts second-ranked and 2008 Olympic Games silver medalist Team USA.

The U.S. Women travel from Rio de Janeiro to Miao Li, Chinese Taipei, the following weekend for Pool D action. Team USA plays NORCECA rival Dominican Republic on Aug. 7, Netherlands on Aug. 8 and Germany on Aug. 9.

The Americans conclude the preliminary action in Pool I Aug. 14-16 at Bangkok, Thailand. The U.S. Women face Russia on Aug. 14, Puerto Rico on Aug. 15 and host Thailand on Aug. 16.

“We are very excited to compete in this year’s edition of the FIVB World Grand Prix,” U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) said. “This is a great competition and it gives us a chance to play a lot of matches against some of the best teams in the World.”

The overall top five teams from the three preliminary weekends plus host Japan advance to the FIVB World Grand Prix Finals to be held in Tokyo. The Finals format is five straight days of round-robin competition among the six participating teams.

The U.S. Women’s National Team qualified for the 2009 FIVB World Grand Prix through the 2008 Pan American Cup in which the Americans were the third highest placing team from NORCECA.

Brazil has won four of the last five FIVB World Grand Prix tournaments, including last year’s gold-medal performance. The U.S. has won the event in 2001 and 1995 with its last medal being a bronze at the 2004 competition.

In addition to Brazil and the U.S. in the top two rankings in the world, the FIVB World Grand Prix has No. 5 China, No. 6 Japan, No. 8 Russia, No. 9 Poland, No. 10 Korea, No. 12 Germany, No. 13 Dominican Republic, No. 15 Netherlands, No. 19 Thailand and Puerto Rico. China and Japan are the only two teams to appear in all 17 annual events, while USA and Brazil are making their 16th appearances. Cuba, which had played in all 16 previous editions, failed to qualify for the 2009 World Grand Prix. Puerto Rico is making its first-ever appearance in the premier annual tournament.

2009 FIVB World Grand Prix Schedule for U.S. Women’s National Team

Pool A – at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Maracanazihno Gym)
July 31: vs. Germany, 1 p.m.
Aug. 1: vs. Puerto Rico, 1 p.m.
Aug. 2: vs. Brazil, 10 a.m.

Pool D – at Li Miao, Chinese Taipei (Miao Li Country Gymnasium)
Aug. 7: vs. Dominican Republic, 2:30 p.m.
Aug. 8: vs. Netherlands, 2:30 p.m.
Aug. 9: vs. Germany, 4:30 p.m.

Pool I – at Bangkok, Thailand (Keelawes Gym)
Aug. 14: vs. Russia, 2 p.m.
Aug. 15: vs. Puerto Rico, 2 p.m.
Aug. 16: vs. Thailand, 4:30 p.m.