MANILA -- The president of the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) gave a stamp of approval on the country’s hosting of each leg of the women's and men's Volleyball Nations League (VNL).
“We never imagined the VNL here would be so beautiful and strong,” FIVB president Dr. Ary da Silva Graça said Friday at the Grand Hyatt Manila in Taguig City. “It’s fantastic and extraordinary.”
The Philippine National Volleyball Federation (PNVF) headed by Ramon “Tats” Suzara is the organizer of the country’s VNL Quezon City hosting at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Week 2 of the women VNL wrapped up last Sunday, while Week 2 of the men’s contest is ongoing.
“That's why we should go here in the Philippines and Indonesia because the future of volleyball would be here in Asia,” said Graça.
The Indonesian president of the Asian Volleyball Confederation, Rita Subowo, is in the country along with FIVB general director Fabio Azevedo.
Subowo and Azevedo similarly hailed the PNVF for its hosting of the VNL.
Graça, 79 and a former Brazilian national team member, said the successful hosting of the VNL “proves that the Philippines is ready and prepared to host such various international tournaments, including the world championships.”
“Everybody was thinking before that it would be a big risk, but it’s not,” Graça said. “So congratulations to the people of Manila.”
Asia has finally grown up in volleyball to 13 international competitions all over the region throughout the years, said Graça. “We’re going to bid for a world competition here soon along with Indonesia and other countries around you.”
He also encouraged the PNVF to keep empowering and developing the Philippine teams to attract public attention, press and the sponsors.
“And the FIVB is always here to give its 100 percent support to the PNVF without asking anything in return,” he said.
“As I told you, we didn't come here to get anything from your end but to help the development and empowerment of the sport.”
Graça said the country doesn’t need to be an Olympic champion in five years although it needs to start the building now.
“We will provide nets, balls and everything. We’re willing to transfer our knowledge also,” he said.
Subowo, for her part, thanked the Philippines for the progress of beach volleyball in the country since 1993 when she first introduced the sport in Boracay.
“Look at Boracay now, it's completely different,” she said. “We are working with sir Ramon (Suzara) during Asian Beach Games in Bali and other Asian activities. We will still work together.”
Suzara also thanked the FIVB for the trust and confidence given to the PNVFI to host the VNL.
“I’d like to thank the FIVB for its support. It's been a tremendous success for the last nine days or ten days. As. I heard the tickets are sold out today until Sunday,” Suzara said.
“Without your support and the volleyball word, we cannot host this big event. It changes the landscape of volleyball not only in the country but in the whole world. It’s a historic moment.”