New pathway for China’s women’s volleyball team to qualify for Olympics
Wang Yunlu of China during the Pool D Phase 2 match between China and Colombia on Day Five of the FIVB Volleyball Womens World Championship 2022 at the Gelredome on September 27, 2022 in Arnhem, Netherlands Photo: VCGChina's women's national volleyball team will punch their tickets to the Los Angeles 2028 Summer Olympic Games should they clinch the 2026 Asian Women's Volleyball Championship, according to the new volleyball calendar released by the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB).
The recently approved 2025-28 volleyball calendar is part of the FIVB's efforts to streamline the qualification process for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics, the world's volleyball governing body said.
The LA Games will see the host nation (the US) join the five champions of the continental championships, the top three teams of the World Championships 2027, and the three highest-ranked teams according to the world rankings.
The new format is subject to approval from the International Olympic Committee.
This format change will thrust the Asian championship back into the spotlight.
China's women's national team has been the most dominant in Asia, winning 13 times in the past 20 continental tournaments. However, the tournament has been used as a tryout for Chinese young players since 2017.
China will field its second-string team for 2023's Asian Championship in Thailand as the main national women's team focus on training for the 2024 Paris Olympics qualifications and the upcoming Hangzhou Asian Games in September.
With the Olympics qualifications set to be phased out, the new calendar change is designed to streamline the international volleyball slate and improve the overall fan experience "by prioritizing the health and well-being of athletes and the needs of other key players in the game," the FIVB said.
It's good news for both China's women's and men's teams as they are able to secure their Olympic berths by winning the continental championship, which will spare them unnecessary trips for international qualifications.
In addition, the top three teams from each continental championship will qualify for the World Championships, which will now take place biannually instead of every four years starting from 2025, according to FIVB's new format.
As a result, China's women's volleyball team, now ranking world No.5, will have more opportunities to fight for the world champion title.