Pavel Pankov in action at the 2013 edition of the FIVB Volleyball Boys' U19 World Championship in Mexico
Lausanne, Switzerland, August 10, 2015 - The FIVB Volleyball Boys' U19 World Championship was introduced in 1989. Brazil won six of the eight first editions up to 2003 and many of the players responsible for the country's successes in recent years, including three World Championship titles from 2002 to 2010 and a silver in 2014, first played for their national team at the junior competition.
This year's edition in Chaco and Corrientes, Argentina, from August 14-23 will again serve as a launching pad for the players of the 20 teams participating in the tournament.
Iran have also shown how their players have benefitted from participation in the Boys' U19 World Championship. They finished on the podium three times between 2001 and 2007, and even won the title in 2007. They now enjoy a prominent position in volleyball's world elite, led by players like Mohammad Mousavi, who was once crowned “Best Spiker” in the competition for young talents.
Serbia were U19 champions in 2009 and 2011, and Aleksandar Atanasijevic and Uros Kovacevic both received MVP awards. They were both also recently involved in the FIVB Volleyball World League Finals in Rio de Janeiro, and were Serbia's two top-scoring players in the final against France (which they lost 0-3). Atanasijevic was the best opposite spiker in the Dream Team - he also received a standing ovation from the Brazilian fans at the Maracanazinho Arena.
At the most recent edition of the FIVB Volleyball Boys’ U19 World Championship, the title went to Olympic winners Russia for the third time. The MVP award was presented to Russian Pavel Pankov, clearly the best player of the competition. An accomplished setter with the finesse of a virtuoso, Pankov also demonstrated an ability to deliver powerful serves and attack.
“He is the leader of our team,” said his coach Alexander Karikov, two years ago. “He has played volleyball since he was a little kid of four, because everyone in his family plays the game. His father played, his mother was an Olympic gold medallist and his sister is the setter in the women’s national team,” Karikov added. “He is a very smart young man with an overall ability for the game.”
Pankov served 31 aces during the competition and had the top three highest totals for aces in a match with 8, 7 and 6 against Iran, China and Russia. Opposite Victor Poletaev, who also made the All-Star Team of the event, finished among the top scorers with 126 points. “He can reach 3.75m using his vertical jump,” added Karikov. “He competed in high jump in athletics and that’s why he has developed that skill so well. From my perspective, Poletaev is the best spiker in the world in this category.”
All of these examples demonstrate the significance of the FIVB Volleyball Boys' U19 World Championship. An impressive number of 17 nations have won medals in the history of the competition, including India, for example, who won silver in 2003. Argentina also won a medal in 2009, when they finished third to claim bronze. The country will host the tournament for the second time, after 2011.
“We feel very proud that they have chosen us to host the U19 World Championship,” said Raul Bittel, president of the local Sports Institute. “We know that the participants will take back great memories and a love for this place. Argentina is very capable of organising high-profile events such as this one.”
Twenty teams will do battle for the 14th title in the history of the competition. Brazil have won six titles and Russia three and are the most successful nations in the competition. They will go head-to-head in the preliminary round.