Volleyball Olympic Qualification: 7 tickets to Sydney will be distributed this month
The process leading to the qualification of 12 men's and 12 women's national teams for the Volleyball Sydney 2000 Olympic tournament (Sept. 16th - Oct. 1st) is entering into a crucial period with the continental qualification events taking place this month. Men Russia, Cuba and Italy, the top-three of the last World Cup played last November in Japan, joined the host nation Australia on the qualifiers list. The next team to clinch an Olympic ticket was South Korea who won the Asian qualification event in Shanghai (Dec. 27-29) topping Japan, China and Chinese Taipei. The four remaining continental Olympic qualification events are scheduled in January: Europe: The competition started yesterday (Jan. 3rd) in Katowice (Poland) with 6 teams: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Poland, Latvia and Yugoslavia. Sunday's final (Jan. 9th) will decide who will get the Olympic berth at stake. Norceca: The event starts tomorrow (Jan. 5th) in Winnipeg (Canada) with 4 teams: Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, USA. The winner of Saturday's final (Jan. 8th) will qualify for Sydney. South America: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela will vie for the Olympic ticket in Sao Paolo (Brazil) during a single 3-day round-robin (7th - 9th Jan.). Africa: The team representing Africa in Sydney will be decided in Cairo (Egypt) among 6 pretenders - Algeria, Egypt, Cameroon, Nigeria, South Africa and Tunisia - playing each other between 20th and 30th Jan. The three last berths will be occupied by the winners of the three World Olympic qualification events to be played next July in Portugal, France and Greece. Women Besides host nation Australia, Cuba, Russia and Brazil were the first qualified teams as they took the three first places at the World Cup '99. Likewise for the men, the women's continental Olympic qualification events are scheduled in January: Europe: The competition starts today (Jan. 4th) in Bremen (Germany) where six teams - Croatia, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Rumania and Ukraine - will play a single round-robin until Sunday (Jan. 9th) taking aim at the Olympic qualification at stake. Norceca: This event takes place in Lakeland (USA) from 5th to 8th with 4 participants: Canada, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and USA. The qualification will be for the winner of Saturday's final (Jan. 8th). South America: Argentina, Peru and Venezuela will play a 3-day round-robin on January 4th, 5th and 6th to decide upon the Olympic ticket. Asia: China, Japan and Korea will play a special event next June in Tokyo combining both the Asian qualification and the World qualification stage, with a total of 8 teams. The best 3 of this tournament will qualify for Sydney, as well as the following best Asian team. Updates on the Olympic qualification events are available on the FIVB website: http://www.fivb.org/Olympics/2000-Sydney.