Although his team finished ninth out of 11 teams at the 11th Asian Girls’ U18 Volleyball Championship in China, March 5-10, Iranian volleyball coach Majda Cicic has high hopes for his team’s future.
Iran went 3-1 at the Asian Girls’ championship, topping China (3-0), Uzbekistan (3-2) and Samoa (3-0), while falling to Hong Kong (3-1). The ninth place finish was one spot ahead of the team’s previous placing of 10th in 2014. The top four teams from the Asian championship advance to the FIVB Girls’ U18 World Championship in August, but Iranian coach Majda Cicic told the FIVB that he has his sights set on the future.
“I have a lot of plans with this team,” Cicic told FIVB.com after his team’s final win over Samoa. “I hope we have a chance to go to the 2018 Youth Olympic Games. It’s just the beginning for our team. In the near future, I hope we will become much stronger.”
The Youth Olympic Games, which features athletes ages 14 to 18, will be staged in Buenos Aires, Argentina, October 6-18, 2018. The event will mark the first Youth Olympic Games to take place outside of Asia. The Summer Youth Olympics made their debut in Singapore in 2010 and are staged every four years.
Iran had 16 competitors at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, earning six medals – three gold and three bronze – in judo, taekwondo and wrestling. Two girls competed, one in shooting and one in taekwondo, with Kimia Alizadeh bringing home the gold in girls 63 kg taekwondo. Twenty-one girls were part of the 52-member Iranian team at the 2010 games in Singapore.
The Iranian men’s volleyball team, which ranked seventh in the 2016 FIVB World Rankings, has won the Asian Championship twice, finished sixth at the World Championships in 2014 and made its Olympic debut in 2016, placing fifth.