Izmir, Turkey, June 16, 2016 – A press conference was held on Wednesday ahead of this weekend’s FIVB World League competition in Izmir.
In his opening speech Turkish Volleyball Federation Executive Committee member Ahmet Goksu said: “First of all, welcome to all of you. We are proud to be hosts here. We will be fighting in Group 2 for the first time and for that I’m very happy, but our goal is to go higher and go to the Final Four in Portugal.”
Izmir Youth Services and Sports Provincial Director Ali Osman Tatlisu thanked the Turkish Volleyball Federation and the FIVB for their support in hosting the tournament, adding: “This is a fantastic opportunity to raise the popularity of volleyball here and it’s a great introduction to volleyball for many fans. Hopefully, we can organise another tournament in the future.”
National team coach Emanuele Zanini said: “I am very excited about this tournament. The new format of the World League is exciting and gives many chances for team to participate. We are very happy to have a chance to participate in such a tournament. This is our third time in the World League. Previously, we were in Group 3 but now for the first time in our history we will fight at the second level. This is a good opportunity to climb higher in the world rankings. The preparation was a long process and we had a tough time. Our goal, of course, is for a good result at the end of this tournament and to take a place in Portugal.”
“Portugal coach Francisco Santos said: “The most important thing is first to develop ourselves as a team. We are most fortunate among the teams that are included here because the Final Four will be held in our country. So now our goal is to get to know the other teams and make our team ready for the Final Four.”
Dutch coach Gido Vermeulen said he was happy in Turkey. “In a country like Turkey, we can feel really good about ourselves. We think we have been treated very well here. We have been preparing for this event for six weeks. We have a team of of mostly young players and we're going to play three tough matches, and this will continue for three more weeks. I hope we'll be leaving with good results. I want to thank the Turkish Volleyball Federation.”
Dutch captain Hannah Jasper added: “We’re going to be playing three European teams and it will allow us to see what level we are at in Europe. I have a good feeling about the team for our first match against Slovakia, and we're excited about this game.”
Slovakia coach Miroslav Palgut said: “We are happy and excited to play at the second level of the World League. On May 23, we started our preparations and played exhibition games against teams from Finland and Slovenia. We don’t have any really experienced players apart from our captain, so we see this as a good opportunity for the younger generation.”