Tue, Aug 25, 2009 - Page 20 News List

Brazil win record eighth volleyball World Grand Prix

AFP , TOKYO

All-conquering Beijing Olympic gold medalists Brazil brushed aside Japan to romp to a record eighth title at the World Grand Prix women’s volleyball tournament on Sunday.

The Brazilians, who did not lose a single match in the three qualifying weeks, chalked up a 25-21, 25-27, 25-19, 25-19 victory to complete five straight wins out of five in the six-team round robin final tournament.

Welissa Gonzaga scored the team’s best haul of 19 points, while Sheilla Castro chipped in with 16 points, leading Brazil to win the top prize of US$200,000.

“We struggled in the beginning, especially against Japanese serves, because they are different from our usual opponents. But in the end, we were able to clinch the title,” Brazilian captain Danielle Lins said. “I’m really happy that we, with these new players, made it.”

Brazil coach Jose Roberto Guimaraes said it was important for his “new generation” team to play tough matches.

It was a double victory for Castro, who received the most valuable player’s award and an extra prize of US$15,000.

“This is a victory that everybody — players, coaches and staff — fought for it together,” Castro said.

Earlier, world champions Russia saw off the Netherlands 25-20, 25-23, 25-21 to secure second place with a 4-1 win-loss record, while Germany defeated China 25-14, 23-25, 25-21, 25-14.

“Basically, today’s match doesn’t mean a lot for us, but I’m very satisfied that my players performed very well,” Russian coach Vladimir Kuzyutkin said.

“We missed the gold medal after losing to Brazil, but I’m satisfied with the runners-up place in the World Grand Prix. I’m also satisfied that my players did an excellent job,” he said.

The Netherlands missed out on a medal with a 2-3 record, the same as Germany, who took third place thanks to a better points ratio. China and Japan both ended with 1-4, with the hosts finishing bottom of the pile.

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