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Pattaya Daily News

17 November 2009 :: 12:11:51 pm 5882

Italy Claim First Fivb Women’s World Grand Champions Cup Title

Winless Thailand finishes last at the WGCC 2009 in Fukuoka, Japan. Asian Champions Thailand was defeated by Brazil in straight sets 25-22, 25-20, 25-18 on the final day of the FIVB Women’s World Grand Champions Cup on Sunday to finish last with five losses out of five, while the Italian team beaten Japan 3-1 and took the Champion title with 1 million US$ in cash
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Brazil beat Thailand 3-0 (25-22, 25-20, 25-18) 

Defending champions Brazil defeated Thailand to keep alive their hopes of claiming the gold medal however, Italy’s victory confirmed Brazil for the silver. Their final placing, with one loss out of five matches, completed a run where the world number one has finished 1st in 2007, 4th in 2001 and third in 1997.   Sheilla Castro was the top scorer for Brazil with 17 points, while Malika Kanthon led Thailand with 13.

A pair of receiving errors and a long service by Brazil offered early hope to Thailand that they could get something out of this game, but after falling behind 7-4, the Brazilians showed their power and were ahead 8-7 at the first technical timeout and extended their lead to 16-11. Thailand tried to narrow the gap to 20-19. Thailand were staying close on merit, but Brazil had just a little too much power to allow the Thais to become a danger. Sheilla landed a spike for setpoint and a tipover by Carol Gattaz sealed the set.

The second set did not start off so well for Thailand. Spiking errors by Sittirak, Kanthong and Amporn Hyapha allowed Brazil to cruise into a 6-0 lead until a big thump by Sittirak stopped the rot. Sheilla got the Brazil ball rolling again with two good hits and they were 8-3 up at the first TTO. The Thais got good hits from Thinkaow, Hyapha and captain Wilavan Apinyapong and were able to keep the margin stable at the second TTO (16-10) and even close the gap as the set drew on, but the hill was still too steep to climb. A block by Sheilla on Kanthong brought setpoint at 24-20 and the same player spiked Brazil to a 2-0 lead.

The pattern of the first two sets was repeated at the start of the third set: The Thais trying to resist and Brazil mainly Sheilla preventing them from doing so. Brazil moved into a 10-4 lead, the Thais pulled back to 12-8, the Brazilians moved ahead to 16-10, and so on. Soon, the Brazilians were 10 points ahead and there was an air of inevitability on the court. At 23-16, Ana Tiemi Takagui made a block to earn matchpoint and after two more Thai points, Sheilla finished the match with a characteristic thump down the line.

“We played 45 matches this year, Brazil coach Ze Roberto said looking ahead to the future. We lost two and won 43. It’s important for our young players to play at this international level.Thailand, meanwhile, were participating in their first FIVB Women’s World Grand Champions Cup and were worthy participants. Despite failing to collect a win, they won three sets and a lot of learning experience. We learned a lot from playing one of the greatest teams in the world, it was an honour for us, Thailand coach Kiattipong Radchatagriengkai said. Our players tried to show their best and I’m satisfied, especially with our service. 

The Italian victory in the Marine Messe completes a stellar year for the l’Azzurri after they had already won the Mediterranean Games and the European Championships. The 2007 World Cup champions only conceded three sets all tournament in what was a consummate performance in front of full stadiums all week long and an international television audience including millions worldwide.  

Italy beat Japan 3-1 (32-30, 25-22, 24-26, 25-18) to clinch the title  

Italy took the gold medal at the FIVB World Grand Champions Cup 2009 but they had to fight very, very hard to get it.   Italy overcame Japan 32-30, 25-22, 24-26, 25-18 in a nail-biting two-hour marathon, finishing the tournament unbeaten in five matches, while Japan finished in fourth place with two victories. Once again, Italy relied on the scoring prowess of their second best scorer Francesca Piccinini who registered 18 points while Antonella Del Core and tournament MVP Simona Gioli managed 17 apiece. Erika Araki top-scored for Japan with 20 points. “We didn’t prepare very well, we were very late but then we had two very hard matches, Italy coach Massimo Barbolini said. I’m very proud of my team, they showed some determination to win. Some moments they didn’t play very well, but they wanted to win and for a coach it is very nice when you have a team that plays this way.

Dominican Republic beat Korea 3-0 (25-17, 25-18, 25-22)  

The Dominican Republic put themselves into bronze medal contention with a strong win over South Korea. The Dominicans 3-2 record put them ahead of Japan, who needed to beat Italy in the final match of the tournament, to claim third place on points ratio.Korea, meanwhile, ended the tournament in fifth place with one win from five matches. We had some tough games in this tournament, but it was a really good experience for us to play against the top teams in the world,” a jubilant Dominican Republic coach Marcos Kwiek said. We learned a lot and discovered many things we need to work on. I think we played the most sets among all six teams we played 20 sets, Korea coach Ryu-Hao Suk said. I think of this tournament as a kind of homework assignment. We need to work on many things, so we’ll take this homework home to South Korea and practice to become a better team.    

Final Standings: Italy (5:0), Brazil (4:1), Dom Republic (3:2), Japan (2:3), Korea (1:4), Thailand (0:5)

Italian stalwart Simona Gioli was awarded the FIVB Women’s World Grand Champions Cup 2009 Most Valuable Player award for her key role in taking the European champions to the FIVB Women’s World Grand Champions Cup 2009 title after Italy finished the tournament unbeaten following their 3-0  victory over Japan on Sunday. Gioli, better known as La Mama having had a baby earlier this year, was to the fore, playing a motherly role as the world number five swept all before them to claim their first FIVB title since the 2007 World Cup, also in Japan. The 32-year-old also received the Best Spiker award and was Italy’s top scorer in the tournament (6th overall) with 68 points, 32 behind the leader from Korea Yeon-Koung Kim.  The award is the second she has received at a FIVB tournament, having also been named the 2007 World Cup MVP. 

Award Winners

MVP – Simona Gioli (Italy), Best Scorer – Yeon Koung Kim (Korea),  Best Spiker – Simona Gioli (Italy), Best Blocker – Hyo-Jin Yang (Korea), Best Server – Malika Kanthong (Thailand), Best Setter – Yoshie Takeshita (Japan) and Best Libero – Fabiana de Oliveira (Brazil) 


Reporter : Jack Rames   Photo : Internet   Category : Sports News

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