Montreux, Switzerland, September 3, 2018 - The focus of International Women’s Volleyball over the opening week of September will be on the Swiss Riviera, as eight of the sport’s finest do battle at Salle Omnisports du Pierrier in the Clarens district of Montreux, a mere three weeks prior to the opening of the 2018 FIVB World Championships in Japan.
The tournament’s prestige and influence from years gone by remains unwavering, but the dates of the famous invitational showpiece were forced move back from its traditional May-June showing to early September (Tuesday September 4 until Sunday September 9) following the inception of the new Volleyball Nations League. Yet in spite of this unprecedented move, some of the finest talent in the women’s game will still have the opportunity to showcase themselves on the shores of Lac Léman as the local community finds itself firmly in the grip of Volleyball fever.
And why shouldn’t it? The annual showpiece, backed by a budget of 1 million CHF draws in 200 million TV spectators every year, as the eyes of Volleyball fans the world over become fixed upon the Montreux commune. And there is plenty of action to tantalise the palate of the spectator, with eight teams playing out a total of 18 matches, with 112 players in total showcasing their talent on court. The local community itself is even drawn to the heart of the competition with its own involvement, with 450 locally sourced volunteers working at the event every year.
Alongside World Number One ranked China at this year’s competition are Brazil, Russia, and Italy, four of the seven other highest ranked nations in the Women’s FIVB rankings. Turkey also feature, as they seek to plot a course back amongst Volleyball’s elite under the stewardship of masterful coach Giovanni Guidetti.
The 2018 inception of this great competition also sees the historic inclusion of an African nation for the first time. Continental champions Cameroon will grace the court in Montreux having secured qualification for the 2018 FIVB World Championships in Japan. They will seek to win over the hearts of volleyball fans worldwide on their debut and can take heart from the impact of 2016 Silver medallists Thailand, who took home the Silver medal after an enthralling run on their Montreux Masters bow two years ago.
14 nations amongst Volleyball’s elite expressed their desire to feature at Montreux this year, showing that it has not lost its lustre or its high esteem amongst the world’s strongest sides. Reigning Olympic champions China appear for the 26th time in its 33 year history, having not missed a single Masters since 1996. Defending Montreux Masters champions Brazil will compete for the 15th time, having taken gold on seven occasions prior to 2018. With pride and prestige at stake, as well as the chance for young, emerging talents of the game to make their mark alongside their more seasoned international teammates, the Montreux Masters is a unique blend of quality in the Volleyball world, and its latest instalment is certainly not one to be missed if the drama lives up to that of previous years.