Action set to hot up in Canberra for World Champs qualifiers

The Australian men’s volleyball team are putting the final touches on their preparation for this week’s World Championship qualifiers in Canberra, needing to finish top two in the five-team competition to book their place in next year’s event.

Australia has qualified for every World Championships since 1998, and in 2014 made history when they progressed to the second round for the first time.

Current Asian champions, Japan, Thailand, Chinese Taipei and New Zealand will all be vying with the Volleyroos for a ticket to next year’s Championships, held every four years and next year jointly hosted by Italy and Bulgaria.

The Australians kick off their campaign on Wednesday night at the AIS against New Zealand, and go into the event confident of a strong showing after winning bronze in the Group Two World League competition last month.

Coach Mark Lebedew is happy with the progress of his young team.

“When we started our World League campaign one month ago, we had a lot of new faces and a lot of players playing in unfamiliar roles,” Lebedew said.

“As the tournament progressed, the confidence of every member of the team improved, and by the finals on the Gold Coast we were playing some very good volleyball.

“This week will be an enormous challenge for us, but hopefully with the home court and home crowd support, we can get the job done and show our fans what we are capable of.”