International Volleyball Federation has released the World Qualifier dates for Rio 2016. It is mapped out the road to Rio 2016 for each of the eight teams per gender competing to qualify for the 2016 Olympics. Both qualifiers will be held in Tokyo, Japan.
South Korea and Italy will open the Women’s WOQT, which will take place from May 14 to 22. The men’s event will begin with a match between Iran and Australia on May 28, with the qualifier ending on June 5.
The WOQT also doubles as the qualification tournament for Asian teams. In each one, the best ranked Asian team plus the top three ranked teams will qualify for the Olympics. If an Asian is ranked among the top three, then the next ranked squad (fourth place) will get a berth.
The women’s event will be played by the hosts Japan, the top three ranked teams in Asia South Korea, Thailand and Kazakhstan, the second and third placed teams from the European Olympic Qualification Tournament Netherlands and Italy, the second placed team from the South American Olympic Qualification Tournament Peru and the second placed team from the NORCECA Olympic Qualification Tournament Dominican Republic. Netherlands, Italy and Japan are the favourites. If these squads reach the top three in the standings, then the other qualified should be an Asian, with a probable battle involving South Korea and Thailand.
The men’s tournament includes the hosts Japan, the top three ranked teams in Asia Australia, China and Iran, the second and third placed teams from the European Olympic Qualification Tournament France and Poland, the second placed team from the South American Olympic Qualification Tournament Venezuela and the second placed team from the NORCECA Olympic Qualification Tournament Canada. The Poles, World Champions in 2014, and the French, 2015 World League and Eurovolley winners, are seen as the eventual top two squads. The men’s competition is way more balanced than the women’s.
The teams already qualified for the women’s volleyball tournament at this year’s Olympics are hosts Brazil, FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Cup winners China and runners-up Serbia, European Olympic Qualification Tournament winners Russia, NORCECA Olympic Qualification Tournament winners USA, South American Olympic Qualification Tournament winners Argentina, and African Olympic Qualification Tournament winners Cameroon. Twelve teams will play in August at Maracanãzinho arena in Rio de Janeiro.
A final berth will be decided in Puerto Rico from May 20-22 when Colombia, Algeria and Kenya will take on the local team in a second Women’s World Olympic Qualification Tournament.
The teams already qualified for the men’s event are hosts Brazil, 2015 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Cup winners USA and runners-up Italy, South American Olympic Qualification Tournament winners Argentina, European Olympic Qualification Tournament winners Russia, NORCECA Olympic Qualification Tournament winners Cuba, and African Olympic Qualification Tournament winners Egypt. Like the women’s side, also 12 teams will be there at Maracanãzinho playing on the men’s event in the Olympics.
The last spot will be decided at a second Men’s World Olympic Qualification Tournament to be held in Mexico City from June 4 to 6, which will see hosts Mexico take on Chile, Algeria and Tunisia.