Mon, 25 Sep 2023

NINGBO, China, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- Host China defeated Ukraine 3-0 (25-21, 25-18, 25-21) in Group A of the Paris Olympic women's volleyball qualifiers, which began on Saturday.

Eight teams - Serbia, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Canada, Ukraine, and China - are vying in Ningbo for two direct berths to Paris 2024.

For Paris 2024 which features 12 teams per gender, host France has secured its place in both men's and women's competitions. The other 11 berths per gender will be allocated via a two-step process, with the first six tickets to be offered through three qualification groups among the 24 top teams in the world.

Apart from Group A in China, both Japan and Poland are hosting the other two groups for the women's teams. Each of the three groups offers two tickets to Paris.

The opening day in Ningbo also witnessed Serbia overpowering Mexico 3-0, the Czech Republic edging out the Dominican Republic 3-2, and Canada narrowly beating the Netherlands 3-2.

China's victory wasn't straightforward, as Ukraine led at the outset of each set. Ukraine's Anastasiia Kraiduba notched a game-high 19 points, with 16 from attacks and three from serves. Her teammate Oleksandra Milenko contributed 14 points.

For China, Li Yingying led with 14 points. Four Chinese players, including Li, reached double digits in scoring.

"It's the significant start for the road to Paris 2024, I don't agree with the saying that Group A is the easiest one," said China head coach Cai Bin. "The first day's matches are quite competitive and our players are still trying to catch the rhythm of the game. For every team, the first day's match is not easy to play," Cai added.

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