Fri, 01 Dec 2023

CAIRO, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) -- China won the women's title at the 2023 World Paravolley (WPV) Sitting Volleyball World Cup with a dramatic 3-1 win (25-23, 25-16, 17-25, 25-20) over Canada here on Saturday evening.

China narrowly claimed the first set but showed dominance in the second, while Canada staged an impressive comeback and won the third.

Although the Canadians were in the lead in the fourth set, the Chinese gradually turned the tide and ended it in their favor to deservedly earn the trophy.

Chinese head coach Xu Huimin and several players were moved to tears of joy after the last whistle.

Xu described the match as "tough" and "fierce," adding that "claiming the World Cup title gives us strong confidence and faith in the Chinese women's volleyball skills and spirit."

The tournament in Cairo offers one ticket to the 2024 Paris Paralympic Games for the winner or the highest-placed non-qualified team. As the Chinese women's team has already secured qualification earlier this year, the quota goes to Canada.

"It's been a very good experience for us to compete in Cairo. Our most important goal is to prepare for the Paralympic Games in Paris next year, so we will hold a training camp after we go back home," Xu told Xinhua.

For her part, Chinese player Lyu Hongqin said that staying calm and confident is one of the strengths of China's women's sitting volleyball team.

"The match was a bit difficult. I think the Canadian team has improved a lot since our confrontation with them in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games," Lyu pointed out.

China's Xu Yixiao was named the Best Attacker and her teammate Su Limei was named the Best Receiver, while Canada's Heidi Peters was awarded both Best Server and Most Valuable Player.

Despite Canada's first loss in all seven matches, the Canadians are going home not only with silver but with the only women's ticket to the Paris Paralympics offered by the World Cup in Cairo.

Canada's head coach Nicole Ban said she was very proud of the performance of her squad against the world's best teams, especially China.

"It is our second time in a final at a major championship. China has the experience over us but we hope that we can come back stronger," Ban told Xinhua.

Ban explained that the strength of her team was mainly serving and receiving. "We need to work on our block defense as well as our attacking."

"I think the Chinese team has always played very good defense; it's really hard to score against them. They move very well on the court and they are fast," the Canadian coach added.

Basic Mirza, an international referee who officiated at the gold medal game, said "it was really good volleyball played at this match. It's worth being the final."

The bronze medal was won by Brazil after its 3-0 triumph over Germany earlier in the day.

Held in Cairo from Nov. 11 to 18, the 2023 WPV Sitting Volleyball World Cup featured 23 teams - 13 teams in the men's competition and ten in the women's.

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