Lausanne, Switzerland, September 28, 2017 - Canada host Cuba, Nicaragua and Saint Lucia in a round robin tournament starting Thursday in the Vancouver suburb of Langley to determine two qualifiers from North & Central America and the Caribbean (NORCECA) to the 2018 FIVB Women's World Championship in Japan.
The top two of the four teams advance to play next year in Japan in the FIVB's flagship tournament, where they join the hosts, defending champions USA plus the already qualified teams of Russia, Serbia, Turkey, Italy, Azerbaijan, Germany, The Netherlands and Bulgaria from Europe, Brazil from South America, and China, Kazakhstan, Korea and Thailand from Asia.
Canada are aiming at making their third straight and ninth overall World Championship. Their best ranking has been 11th in 1974 in Mexico and 1982 in Peru.
Cuba have competed in the World Championship continusouly since their debut appearance in 1970 in Bulgaria, eying their 13th next year. During their heyday from the late 1970s to the late 1990s Cuba picked up three gold and one silver medals - though in their latest appearance finished only 21st in 2014 in Italy.
The Caribbean side are the third most prolific in the history of the World Championship after Russia (including the USSR) with seven gold medals and Japan also at three.
Neither Nicaragua nor Saint Lucia have ever made it to a World Championship.
Canada and Cuba are the undisputed favourites to claim the two qualifying spots at the Langley tournament, but for both Saint Lucia and Nicaragua it's a great chance to measure themselves against some high-level opposition.
"We are aware that there are other teams here that play at a high level, and we have the commitment to fight hard during each match," said Nicaragua coach Rene Quintana on the eve of the tournament. "We want to give it the best we have, and this is good preparation for the Central American Games, which will be hosted in Managua, Nicaragua, in December."
"It's not very often that we get to play at such high level," added Saint Lucia coach Kendell Charlery. "The team is prepared and ready to make the best of it, and show the world a little bit of what St. Lucia can do. We want to give it our best as we step into the 'land of the giants' as they say, so we will try to put on a good showing for our country."Opening day schedule, Thursday 28 September:
17:30 (00:30 Friday GMT) Cuba v Nicaragua
20:00 (03:00 Friday GMT) Canada v Saint Lucia
More information, including full calendar, live scoring, statistics and pictures, is available on the NORCECA website
Live streaming will be available at www.cbcsports.ca
Four more NORCECA tickets for the 2018 FIVB Women's World Championship will be handed out next month, when the Dominican Republic host Puerto Rico, Jamaica and Guatemala in Santo Dominigo, and Trinidad & Tobago host Mexico and Costa Rica in Port of Spain. Both these tournaments are scheduled for 13-15 October.
The three NORCECA qualifiers are part of the 2017 Senior Women's Continental Championship.Quick links - Volleyball:
FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship 2018FIVB Volleyball Women's World Championship 2018FIVB.com - VolleyballFIVB.com
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