Lausanne, Switzerland, May 23, 2016 – The Rio 2016 Olympic Games women’s volleyball pools have been officially finalised with all 12 teams learning their fate following the conclusion of the two Women’s World Olympic Qualification Tournaments on May 22.
Italy, the Netherlands, Japan and Korea all qualified via the World Olympic Qualification Tournament in Japan while Puerto Rico joined them by winning the same tournament in front of their home fans on Sunday.
The teams have been split into two pools of six, with the top four sides from each progressing to the elimination round.
The pools were allocated using the serpentine system, with those with the highest world ranking as of January 1, 2016 drawn first into Pool B after hosts Brazil (who are automatically placed in Pool A).
The home side will face off against Russia, Japan, Korea, Argentina and Cameroon in Pool A.
Brazil and Korea were both in the same pool at London 2012, with the latter coming out on top on that occasion. The hosts will have a chance to scout 2012 bronze medallists Japan when they clash in the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix on June 10.
Russia will be hoping to end their 12 year drought of Olympic medals having last stood on the podium at the Athens 2004 Games where they claimed silver. They will also meet Japan ahead of the tournament in the World Grand Prix on June 26.
Korea will no doubt be eyeing up their match with Japan in what will be a repeat of the bronze medal match four years ago. The two teams recently met at the Women’s World Olympic Qualification with Korea coming out on top in four sets.
Argentina and Cameroon will both be competing at their first Olympic Games and whilst the South American side will come to the tournament with some momentum following a World Grand Prix Group 2 campaign, Cameroon will have to pull on the experience gained from the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship Italy 2014 – their last major international tournament outing.
Pool B will consist of USA, China, Serbia, Italy, the Netherlands and Puerto Rico.
The clash between USA and China will be a repeat of the Women’s World Championship final, where Karch Kiraly’s US side claimed the victory. China have had success since then however, claiming the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Cup in 2015.
The two teams were also in the same pool at London 2012, as were Serbia who return to the Olympic Games for the first time since Beijing 2008.
Five of the six teams will arrive in Rio with some knowledge of at least one of their opponents, with many set to clash during the World Grand Prix.
USA will meet China twice – on June 12 and 26 – as well as the Netherlands on June 25. China will also clash with Serbia on June 18 and the Netherlands on June 24, while the Serbians will themselves meet European rivals Italy on June 18.
The Rio 2016 Olympic Games women’s volleyball tournament will take place from August 6 to 20.