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2001 Results

Team USA celebrates

USA 2001 World Grand Prix Champions

 

Over the month of August 2001, Brazil, Korea, China, USA, Russia, Japan, Germany and Cuba battled for their share of the US $1 million in prize money at the 2001 Women's Grand Prix.

 


What is the World Grand Prix?

The World Grand Prix was created by FIVB in 1993 as a professional women’s sporting entertainment concept for spectators to watch live and on television.

2002 WORLD GRAND PRIX:

Russia beat China 3-1 to win Grand Prix Finals
Hong Kong, August 4 -- Sydney Olympic silver medallists Russia triumphed over China here on Sunday to claim their third FIVB World Grand Prix title in this important annual Volleyball tournament. They also were the victors in 1997 and 1999. 
The Russian women took the match 29-27, 23-25, 25-20 and 25-21 to pick up the winner's check for $200,000, from a total prize money of over $1 million offered to participating teams. 
Star spiker Evgueniya Artamonova, who helped Russia win the 93-minute match with 26 points, emerged as the Most Valuable Player of the Grand Prix Final.
The Chinese women, who were bidding to win their first Grand Prix title, put up strong resistance from the start but could barely stop the pressure by Artamonova and the 2.04-meter Ekaterina Gamova, who added 20 kills for Russia.
Despite the second loss in three days to Russia, Chinese head coach Chen Zhonghe was satisfied with the team's performance. "I am satisfied, we played a good game today," Chen said. "However, the Russian team did better, especially in attacking and serving."
Russian coach Nikolai Karpol also praised the Chinese team.
"It was a difficult game, China played very well and they had a lot energy, but in the end, we were the winners," the legendary coach commented. Looking ahead to the World Championships in Germany (Aug 30-Sept15) Karpol said his team had many rivals for the title.
"China, the United States, Italy and Russia all have a chance to win," he said.
Trailing 19-12 in the opening set, China pulled back to 23-22 and withstood three set points for a 27-26 lead before Russia ran off three straight points to win the set.
Driven by strong performance from ace spiker Yang Hao, who led the hosts with 14 attacking points, China came back to win the second set 25-23. With Russia trailing 24-23, Elena Godina served out to surrender the game.
China got within 21-19 and 20-18 in the third and fourth set respectively but faded both times.
Yang Hao, who recorded two aces on Sunday, won the Best Server Award. China's Zhao Ruirui was named Most Popular Player of the tournament. The other awards went to Elizaveta Tichtchenko of Russia (Best Spiker), Brazilian Valeska Menezes (Best Blocker) and Fabiana Oliveira (Best Libero).
Earlier Sunday, Germany beat Brazil 3-1 to win the bronze medal.
The Europeans outplayed Brazil 18-25, 25-17, 28-26 and 25-16 for their best finish in the history at the annual tournament.
Germany's South Korean coach Hee Wan Lee was more than happy with the results.
"Today is an important day for German volleyball," the coach said. "I am proud of my team."
Germany ousted Olympic and world champions Cuba and defending Grand Prix champions the United States in the preliminary rounds for a berth in the Final.
The Brazilians, who won the Grand Prix title in 1994, 1996 and 1998, settled for the fourth place.

 

Germany defeats Brazil to take bronze medal
Hong Kong, China, August 4 - Germany rallied past Brazil 3-1 on Sunday to win the bronze medal at the Women's 2002 Volleyball World Grand Prix Final.
The Europeans, hosts to the World Championship set for August 30 to September 15, overcame a shaky start to outplay Brazil 18-25, 25-17, 28-26 and 25-16 for their best finish in the history of this annual tournament.
Germany's South Korean coach Hee Wan Lee was more than happy with the results.
"Today is an important day for German volleyball," the coach said. "I am proud of my players.
"It is not only because of today's win, but also their consistent performance during the last four weeks."
Germany ousted Olympic and World Champions Cuba and defending Grand Prix champions the United States in the preliminary rounds for a berth in the Final.
Fresh from Saturday's surprising victory over Russia, Brazil rallied from 7-4 down with a 15-5 run to take the first set before Germany leveled 1-all with a comfortable 25-17 win in the second. With the score tied at 26 in the third, Germany's star spiker Angelina Grün converted two consecutive kills to award her team the crucial game.
The Brazilians, who won the Grand Prix title in 1994, 1996 and 1998, went down more tamely in the fourth and settled for the fourth place.
"It is reasonable that we lost the match," said Brazilian head coach Marco Motta. "Because the German team is stronger. "We will improve our game and try to make top four at the World Championship." 
Grün and Judith Sylvester led Germany with 13 kills each and Grün added three blocks.
The Brazilians were led by Paula Pequeno's 14 attack points.
Later on Sunday, China and Sydney Olympic silver medallists Russia will clash for the title.

China and Russia in finals; Brazil and Germany go for bronze
Hong Kong, China, August 3 - China brushed aside Germany in straight sets here on Saturday to set up a final rematch with Russia at the $1 Million Women's Volleyball World Grand Prix.
The Russians, 3-2 winners over China in Friday's preliminaries, join the hosts in the final despite a surprising 3-0 loss to Brazil. The Chinese women, who are bidding to win their first ever World Grand Prix title, tamed Germany 25-17, 25-20 and 25-19. Germany and Brazil now contest the bronze medal, also on Sunday.
"I am very satisfied with our play today," said the Chinese coach Chen Zhonghe. "It is the best match we played at this tournament and we did well in blocking, serving and attacking."
"It is important that we played steadily today," Chen added.
China's effective blocking stymied the attempts of Germany's star spiker Angelina Grün, who only managed nine attacking points and now slips from top scorer in the tournament to third behind devastating Chinese duo Yang Hao and Zhao Ruirui. China secured 46% of the attacks to just 33.3% by Germany. 
The Germans had few answers to stop or counter the Chinese attack, led by ace spiker Yang Hao and the 1.96-meter Zhao Ruirui. Yang converted on 17 of her 30 kill attempts and Zhao added 10.
"It is not a shame to lose to China because China is a very strong team," said Germany's South Korean coach Hee Wan Lee. "We did not play very well and we had difficulties in blocking."
Confident of advancing, Russia head coach Nikolai Karpol rested ace spikers Ekaterina Gamova and Evgueniya Artamonova and ace setter Tatiana Gratcheva in the match against Brazil, so the Russians rarely got up and running with their famed spiking and blocking.
Russia trailed through most of the first two sets, then struggled for a 24-23 led in the third to earn their sole set point. However, Elena Plotnikova squandered the advantage by serving out before Natalia Safronova missed a shot to give the lead back to the Brazilians. Finally, Brazil blocked three consecutive shots and stopped Anastasia Belikova to take the victory.
China and Russia both finished round-robin preliminaries with two victories against one loss but China placed first on a better set-ratio. China lost to the United States in the Grand Prix final last year and finished second to Cuba at the inaugural edition of the annual event in 1993.

 Russia defeats China; unbeaten so far in final round
Hong Kong, China, 2 August - Russia battled hard to overcome hosts China in a marathon five-setter Friday to remain unbeaten, but not entirely unscathed, at the 2002 Women's Volleyball World Grand Prix Final. Earlier Friday, Germany trounced Brazil to pull off one of the surprises of the tournament so far. 
Roared on by a near capacity crowd in the Hong Kong Coliseum, China started strongly to win the hotly contested first set 25-23. But then the towering Russian team, with an average height of 1.89 meters, showed their dominance at the net as they eased to a 25-10 victory in the second set that was characterized by high quality spiking and blocking. The two teams split the next two games, forcing the tiebreaker. Trailing by 10-9, the Russian women rallied to run up six straight points for the victory.
China's coach Chen Zhonghe said it was lack of experience that cost his talented young side the match. "Our players are very young and we had up and downs in the match," Chen said. "You can see that from our different performance in the first four games. At the same time, we still lack role players who can rescue us from danger," he added.
The Russian women, favorites to win the title and pick up the US $200,000 winner's check, lead the four-team round robin with two victories in two matches.
"The important thing is that our players knew what to do when we trailed 1-0 and 2-1," said Russian coach Nikolai Karpol.
Earlier Germany, who were surprise finalists, stole the show by snatching a 3-0 (25-23, 25-23, 25-23) win over Brazil.
The Round Robin concludes on Saturday when China plays Germany and Russia takes on Brazil. Top two finishers will vie for the title on Sunday with the other two contesting the bronze medal. Russia leads the table. China and Germany have split their matches but China is second with a better set-ratio. Twice defeated Brazil is fourth.

 

Germany beats Brazil in straight sets

Hong Kong, China, 2 August 2002 - Germany stole the show and snatched a straight-sets win over Brazil on the second day of the final round of the 2002 Women's Volleyball World Grand Prix here on Friday.
The Germans, who host the 2002 World Championship (Aug 30-Sept 15 in six German cities) and who were trounced 3-0 by Russia on Thursday, were understandably very happy with their 25-23, 25-23, 25-23 victory.
"We were very glad to be able to play in the Final," said Germany's South Korean coach Hee Wan Lee. "Now we are much more satisfied because we have won a match in the Final."
With a 5-4 win-loss record in the preliminaries, Germany surprisingly ousted the Olympic and world title-holders Cuba and defending champions the United States for a place in the four-team Final.
Brazil kept it close in the first two games, getting within 24-23 in both games, but they faded both times.
"We were a little bit nervous because it was an important match," said Brazilian captain Karin Rodrigues.
The Brazilians, who have three times won the Grand Prix Final, got a flying start in the third set, racing to a 12-6 lead. However, Germany surged back with a 9-3 run and Angelina Grün's deadly spike brought Germany back into the set at 15-15. Grün continued with her blitzing form as she scored three of Germany's final five points before Sylvia Roll sealed the victory with a clever shot. Grün, who plays professional volleyball in Italy, led Germany with 16 attacking points.
Pic caption: Plenty of reason to celebrate for Germany

 

China and Russia win opening matches
 

Hong Kong, China, 1 August - Hosts China and Sydney 2000 Olympic silver medallists Russia emerged the winners on the opening day of the 2002 Women's Volleyball World Grand Prix Final here on Thursday.
China sailed past the newly formed Brazilian team 3-1 (25-21, 25-18, 18-25, 25-19), stumbling only in the third set and Russia trounced Germany 3-1 (25-19, 25-15, 25-22).
"Generally speaking, we played to our standard today," said Chinese head coach
Chen Zhonghe, reflecting that his side did have their "ups and downs" during the match before a large crowd in the Hong Kong Coliseum.
"We did not do very well in receiving and blocking and I think our blocking was the worst in recent matches," he added.
The Chinese women, who won eight of nine matches and finished first over Russia in the preliminaries, rallied from a 0-5 deficit to take the first set 25-21.
Brazil, who have won this coveted title three times dropped seven of the final nine points to surrender the second set before coming back with a 25-18 victory in the third.
In the last game, China led most of the way and Zhao Ruirui sealed the victory for them with a well-placed spike.
"It was a very good match," said Brazilian captain Welissa Gonzaga. "The Chinese played very fast so we had difficulty in blocking and made a lot of mistakes, especially in attacking."
Zhao led the Chinese attack with 19 points, 14 of which came from spiking.
The Russian women, hot favorites to win the title and pick up the US $200,000 winner's check, had no great trouble in the straight-sets win over Germany but Russia's Head Coach Nikolai Karpol asked more from his players.
"We won the match but we did not perform to our best," said the legendary Karpol after the 59-minute match. He added that the team had been tired after three weeks of preliminaries and also warned that they would be out in force on Friday. "I think we will be in our top form when we meet China tomorrow," he added.
The Germans ousted Olympic and world title-holders Cuba and defending champions USA for a finals berth, but Russias explosive spiking and relentless blocking proved too much for them.
Their service and blocking were very good, said Germanys South Korean coach Lee Hee Wan. We will try to play much better tomorrow.
The Germans are to play Brazil on Friday while China will take on Russia. Top two finishers from the four-team round-robin competitions will vie for the title on Sunday with the other two fighting for the bronze medal.
___________________________

 

CHINA AND RUSSIA GO INTO THE FINALS FAVORITES

Hong Kong, China – Host country China and Olympic silver medallists (Sydney 2000) Russia go into the final round as favorites to win the title at the 2002 World Grand Prix Final, this year being held here in the Hong Kong Coliseum.

Both finished with 17 points at the completion of the Preliminary Round but China topped the table with a better win-loss set ratio to prove that they are on line for the title and in excellent shape ahead of the World Championship in Germany (Aug 30 – Sept 15).

Host country went into the competition with modest ambitions when it started in July. “Our main objective is to accumulate international experience and prepared for the World Championship,” Head Coach Chen Zhonghe declared before the competition began.

But the Chinese women’s remarkable performance in the preliminary rounds, losing only one match to Russia and conceding a mere four sets has established them among the elite and raised hopes that they could win their first ever World Grand Prix title. They lost to the United States in the final last year and finished second to Cuba at the inaugural edition of the annual event in 1993.

“We will try our best to win the tournament in the final round,” Chen said after China won the Thailand leg competition with a 3-0 win-loss record. As host country, China qualified automatically for the final.

Zhao Ruirui, who leads the blockers table with 37 blocks in the preliminaries and is second in spiking, and ace setter Feng Kun will be China’s most dangerous weapons when they seek revenge for their 3-0 defeat by Russia in the opening round in Chengdu.

With World Olympic title-holders Cuba and defending Grand Prix champions the United States both out of the race, Russia represents China’s biggest challenger. The powerful team, with the blitz offensive led by Elizaveta Tishtchenko, who converted 58.7 percent of her kill attempts to become the most efficient spiker in the preliminaries, and Ekaterina Gamova, second-place on the best scorers list, the Russians stormed to six straight victories before surprisingly faltering to Japan 3-2 in Chinese Taipei.

The other two contenders here are Germany, enjoying a run of confidence after a good preliminary round, and the newly formed Brazil. Germany, Brazil and Japan all had five wins against four losses after preliminaries but Germany finished over Brazil and Japan on sets won to secure a Final berth.

Angelina Gruen, who plays professional volleyball in Italy, led Germany over Brazil twice on their way to the final stage, finished with 153 points in nine matches to top the scorers list.

The Brazilians, who have won the title three times in the history of the competition, have already improved on their fifth-place finish last year.
 

WEEK 3
 

July 7, 2002 - China, Russia, Germany and Brazil wrapped up their third week on the $1 million World Grand Prix Women's Volleyball tournament in matches played in Macau and Chinese Taipei to seal their places in the final to be played in Hong Kong next weekend. 
China and Russia both won eight of their nine matches in the three preliminary rounds to finish with 17 points each, with Germany and Japan with a 5-4 win-loss ratio for 14 points each. Germany lost against the powerful Chinese this weekend but won their ticket to the final round with their 3-2 victory in a 2-hour-long match against titleholders Brazil. The win will be a huge confidence booster ahead of Germany hosting the FIVB Women's World Championship (Aug 30-Sept 28) in six German cities, where the home team has now been elevated from a rank outsider to a probable entry into the second round of the championship. Germany also beat Thailand 3-0 and their Angelina Grün, who plays professionally in the prestigious Italian League, is so far the tournament's top scorer with 153 ahead of Ekaterian Gamova of Russia with 151.
Japan were the unluckiest team in the third round after they employed fantastic defense and blocking to deliver an unsettling 3-2 defeat to the mighty Russians, and then also took care of the USA 3-1, before going down to the youthful Cuban side 3-0.
Titleholders USA were also luckless, finishing preliminary round three sixth on the table of eight teams with three wins and 6 losses in the series. Despite their legendary fighting spirit, they went down in all three matches this weekend - 3-2 to Russia, 3-2 to Japan and 3-2 to Cuba and leave the tournament with nothing but their tickets home.
Thailand exits the tournament without a win in their nine matches.
The top four teams now travel to Hong Kong for the final round next weekend.

Pic caption: Germany's Kulakova going for the shot

New TV deal enhances global coverage for World Grand Prix 2002

A new television coordination and distribution deal between FIVB and the London-based company IEC in Sports, will broaden TV global coverage for the 2002 FIVB World Grand Prix, to be played in Asia this summer.

IEC has been charged with worldwide distribution of the event, except for host countries Japan and Brazil. In addition, IEC will act as TV coordinators, liaising with Host Broadcasters and supervising international TV production.

The 2002 event will feature Sydney 2000 Olympic Games gold, silver and bronze medallists Cuba, Russia and Brazil, 2001 World Grand Champions Cup winner China, defending World Grand Prix champion USA, as well as Thailand, Japan and Germany in the eight-team competition.

China, Japan, Thailand, Macau, Philippines and Taipei will host the preliminary legs over a four-weekend period from 12 July to the 4 August 2002, with the four-team finals series held in Hong Kong on the final weekend.



LIVE SCORE!



Grand Prix finalists receive warm welcome from local fans 
in Hong Kong

Hong Kong, China, 31 July 2002 -- Grand Prix Finalists China, Russia, Brazil and Germany were greeted by enthusiastic local fans on Wednesday before competing in the women's volleyball tournament at Hong Kong Coliseum this weekend.
Nearly 1,000 fans and dozens of journalists gathered at the Olympian City II, one of Hong Kong's most prestigious shopping centers, to welcome the four teams taking part in the 2002 World Grand Prix Final. At the "Meet the Players" open press conference. A special welcome was given to the players and coaches from the home team of China, who were greeted with loud cheers when they were introduced by the organizers.
Guests presented at the press conference included Johnny Woo, Assistant Director of Leisure and Cultural Services Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Wei Jizhong, president of FIVB World Grand Prix Council, Victor Hui, President of the Volleyball Association of Hong Kong, China and Andrew Yang, Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive of the Pacific Century Insurance Holding Ltd. In a brief welcome speech, Wei wished all the four teams "good luck".
After the press conference, star players including Feng Kun from China, Russian Elizaveta Tishtchenko and Germany's Angelina Gruen signed autographs for the many fans that waited in line.


Hong Kong Coliseum host to 2002 World Grand Prix Final
The Hong Kong Coliseum, situated in Hung Hom, adjacent to the Kowloon Railway Terminus, is locally referred to as "the Red Hot Coliseum", a pun on the word Hung, which means both "red" and "achieving celebrity status". This is an apt expression for the multipurpose venue, which has played host to hundreds of local and international performances, events and conferences.
Officially inaugurated on 27 April 1983, by Sir Edward Youde, late Governor of Hong Kong, the Coliseum took six years to complete. From the venue's initial conception in the 1960s, to its final completion, the intended capacity has almost doubled from 7,500 to 12,500 seats. The $175 million project is the pride of the Hong Kong people as it is a world class indoor stadium that caters for a range of international and local activities, ranging from cultural and entertainment to sporting and celebrity events, as well as conventions and exhibitions.
The Coliseum has hosted every type of event from the World Swimming Championships to important religious conventions - everything from the epic proportions of Jacky Cheung's 43-show musical to the mellow jazz vibes of Kenny G, and from the glamour of the Miss Hong Kong Pageant to the Moscow Circus. The richness and variety of events that have taken place at the Coliseum have come to mirror the multifaceted character and lifestyles of Hong Kong people.


World Grand Prix Honours
2001 USA  China Russia
2000 Cuba Russia Brazil 
1999 Russia Brazil China
1998 Brazil Russia Cuba
1997 Russia Cuba Korea
1996 Brazil  Cuba Russia
1995 USA  Brazil Cuba 
1994 Brazil Cuba China 
1993 Cuba China Russia