WOQT Final Recap: Canada completes Olympic four in Japan

Sunday, 05 Jun 2016
Zuzanna Dulnik - @ZetDe04
Canada will enter Olympic stage for the first time in 24 years (Photo: FIVB)

Canada claims the last Olympic berth available at WOQT in Japan after Poland, France and Iran claiming theirs earlier in the competition. Canucks defeated China in the tie-break, removing Asian team from the race, but the final call on the Olympic berth came after Poland defeated Canada’s other rival for Rio ticket, Australia. 

Check out WOQT Day 6 Recap here.

Iran v Venezuela

Result: 3-2 (25-23, 27-29, 21-25, 25-18, 15-8) – watch full match here

After finding out their fate earlier in the competition, Iran and Venezuela took their last match at WOQT as an experience for bench players. Iran secured its Olympic berth on Saturday, while Venezuela failed in the race to Rio, recording seven losses in Japan.

Julio Velasco, the former national team head coach, started the project to make it to the Olympics some eight years ago. There are two squads now in Iran and we are focusing now to prepare for the next tournament (World League) starting on June 17.
We had a great experience in this tournament and found out our team has high potential to be better. In this tournament all the teams were strong but we enjoyed it. We will work hard for the World League, which is really important for me and the team, as we would like to achieve a higher goal.

Read pre-WOQT interviews with Roberto Santilli and Nehemiah Mote.

Canada v China

Result: 3-2 (25-16, 20-25, 24-26, 25-20, 15-9) – watch full match here

The second match brought more emotional to the court as both Canada and China were up to claim the last Olympic berth at WOQT. After a five-setter, Canada won the game, removing China from the race, but their own berth wasn’t certain until Australia’s match against Poland. Rio 2016 will be the first Olympics for Canada in 24 years. China missed their chance by one match, but their performance in Japan was very consistent. Young squad challenged all of the favourites of the competition, showing China’s potential for the upcoming years.

It was an awesome match. We battled hard. There was a lot of pressure. We showed our resiliency. We gave ourselves a shot to go to Rio. We will see what happens in the next match. I’m proud of how our guys fought today.
This was an important match but we lost. We fought from the first set to the last. The team has gained great experience for the future of China men’s volleyball at this tournament.

Read interview with Stephane Antiga and Laurent Tillie here.

Poland v Australia

Result: 3-0 (25-21, 25-15, 27-25) – watch full match here

Australia needed to win the match against Poland, who secured its own Olympic berth as the first team at WOQT on Thursday. Coach Antiga sent on court bench players, but Polish proved too strong for Australia serving them straight set defeat and ending their dreams about Olympics.

It’s tough to comment about this game. We worked the whole tournament to get to this point, where we had a chance to qualify. We just collapsed in the last game. As the coach I feel responsible for the performance of the players.
It’s a crushing loss. We had a chance to secure a trip to the Olympics today. Poland has a deep team with many world-class players. I feel a bit lost, a bit empty. It’s tough to put into words about today’s game.

Glenn Hoag talks to Volleyverse ahead of WOQT – read here.

Full WOQT schedule can be found here.

Japan v France

Result: 3-0 (25-18, 25-23, 25-23) – watch full match here

Hosting team brought some joy to their fans ending WOQT with a victory over France as teams were set to ‘close’ the competition. Japan lost its chances to join their women fellow team in Rio 2016, while France secured its Olympic berth on Saturday.

Tonight we won against France. They did not field their best players. We played hard and were effective on service. We were able to transition the ball well. Yanagida and Shimizu scored well and our service functioned well.
It was a tough match. Japan’s serve and defence were good tonight. Our players felt pressure. I am proud of my players throughout this competition. We will work hard to win a medal in the Olympics. We need to improve our blocking and dealing with frustrations at the end of sets.