Bari, Italy, October 3, 2014 – Dominican Republic have been eager to show the world that they are one of the best women’s volleyball teams and they are just doing that at this World Championship.
Following a disappointing 17th finish and a 1-4 win-loss record in the last World Championship in Japan four years ago, the Queens of the Caribbean bounced back with an extraordinary 7-0 record this time in Italy to get close to their first top six finish in the quadrennial event.
“Just to be here is amazing! To go to the second round, it’s extraordinary. To be unbeaten, it's awesome!” said Cristobal Marte Hoffiz, FIVB's First Executive Vice President. “I am very happy for my country, a very small country.”
Cristobal Marte Hoffiz attributed the strong performance of Dominican Republic to years of hard work.
“Work, work, work and the results one day will come out,” he added.
In the lead up to the 2014 World Championship, Dominican Republic received a timely boost to morale by winning the Pan American Cup, but could not continue their winning ways at the 2014 World Grand Prix where they finished bottom of Group 1.
According to Dominican Republic head coach Marcos Kwiek, the victories and defeats both contributed to the team growth.
“We had very good preparation before coming here,” said Kwiek, who took the helm of the team in 2008. “We knew this was going to be a very long and difficult tournament and we had a very difficult group. I guess nobody was thinking about us before and I think it's an advantage for us.”
Mr. Cristobal Marte Hoffiz was delighted to see the team from a country with a population of 10 millions join traditional volleyball powerhouses Brazil, USA and China in the unbeaten four.
“I am very happy for the girls, I am very happy for thousands and thousands of Dominicans who are watching this World Championship on TV. I am happy for the president of my country, he is very happy,” he said. “This brings joy to my country and we need to have opportunities. This is the results when you give opportunities to so many who really want to work. This is volleyball!”
Five years after leading Dominican Republic to win a bronze medal at the World Grand Champions Cup in 2009, the team’s highest ever finish in an FIVB competition, Marcos Kwiek was proud drawing the world’s attention to his team again.
“After good preparation we had before, our team is playing together very well. Maybe nobody thought we are a very strong team, but now we are showing people we can play very well technically. We can block, we can serve and we are playing very well,” he said.
Having 11 points from five wins in hands, Dominican Republic currently ranked third in pool E, three points above the fourth placed Japan and could make the history with three more points from the last two pool E matches against China and Japan.
“We know it's going to be very difficult matches, but we are used to playing against them and we saw them in a lot of tournaments,” said Kwiek. “It will be different from the games we have played in this tournament, they play very fast and we have one day to prepare.”
“Let's see what happens, we'll give our best,” Mr. Cristobal Marte Hoffiz added.