Art And Culture

Confident, Capable & Competent

Confident, Capable & CompetentConfident, Capable & Competent

Iran men’s national volleyball team, which qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympics on Saturday, (June 4), completed their matches in the Men’s World Olympic Qualification Tournament with a 3-2 win over Venezuela in Tokyo on Sunday.

Currently the strongest team in Asia, Iran won six of the seven games and finished second among eight teams to reserve a booth in Rio together with France, Poland and Canada. Iran’s impressive performance left no room for the other Asian teams Japan and China to find a way through, reported.

In their final match, Iran’s Argentinean head coach Raul Lozano mostly made use of the players who had played less in the previous games and let the main players rest. However, delivering an acceptable performance, the substitutes proved to be no less capable and earned yet another victory for Iran, handing Venezuela their 7th consecutive defeat.

Lozano appreciated the efforts of the former national team head coach Julio Velasco, also from Argentina, in setting off on a path which is paying dividends now. “Velasco started the project to make it to the Olympics some eight years ago. None of our players play for foreign clubs, and young and strong players were chosen and great work has been done,” he said quoted by the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) website.

Iran player Mehdi Mahdavi said, “It is good to finish the tournament with a win. This gives us confidence for the upcoming World League. This is good for the future”.

The 2016 Summer Olympics will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 5-21 where 12 world powerhouses will compete for the volleyball gold medal including Brazil, Italy, the US, Russia, Argentina and Cuba. The qualifiers will be divided in two pools of six and the top four teams from each pool will advance to the knockout quarterfinals.

 No Time to Waste

Although there are still two months left to the Olympics, Iranian coaches and players have no time to rest as they look forward to the next tournament, the Volleyball World League, June 16-July 17.

In the FIVB Senior World Ranking for Men Iran has the 8th position, the only Asian team among the top ten and above powerful teams such as France and Canada.

Starting from June 16, Iran faces Brazil (1st in the world ranking list), Italy (4th), the US (5th), Argentina (6th), Bulgaria (7th) and Serbia (12th) in the World League.

Five of the six teams Iran will confront have a better status; however, the Iran team has shown in the past that it is a force to reckon with as it beat all of the great teams at least once in different tournaments. Furthermore, Iran’s good records keep the fans hopeful for a superb result.

 Brilliant Achievements

Iran’s volleyball has made rapid improvement since 2008. Led by the Iranian coach Hossein Ma’adani, Iran won the Asian Cup in 2008 and 2010 and was runner-up in 2009 Asian Championship and 2010 Asian Games.

Coached by Velasco, Iran became the champion in 2011 and 2013 Asian Championship and finished 4th in the 2013 World Grand Champions.

The Serbian coach Slobodan Kovac led Iran in the 2014 Asian Games where Iran finished first and in 2014 World League where Iran grasped its best result taking the fourth place.

Iran featured in the past three FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championships and was sixth in the 2014 edition in Poland.

 World-Class Coach

Lozano is considered one of the best coaches in the world. He played for the Argentina national team but his greatest achievements have come as a coach.

He directed the national teams of Spain in 1994-1997 and 1999-2000, Poland in 2005-2008, and Germany in 2008-2011. He led Spain to a silver medal in the World University Games in Japan and a 5th place in the World League and World Cup in 1999.

Lozano’s biggest success was Poland’s silver medal in the 2006 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship, for which he also received a state award - the Knight’s Cross of Polonia Restituta - granted then by the Polish president Lech Kaczynski for his outstanding contribution to the development of Polish sport.

With excellent results achieved recently, it can be said that Iran are in their best form and can present a major challenge to the world’s elite teams. With confidence in themselves, eliminating weaknesses and concentration on their strength, overpowering Brazil, Russia, Argentina and the likes and standing on top of the world is not far-fetched.