Eight teams are ready to hit the competition court in Doha in a race to become the fourth champions of the men’s Volleyball Challenger Cup as the 2023 edition of the competition gets underway on Friday. With Chile, China, Dominican Republic, Thailand, Tunisia, Türkiye, Ukraine and hosts Qatar participating in the quarterfinals of the single-elimination three-day tournament on the first competition day, one of these teams will triumph on Sunday, July 30, not only with the trophy and the gold medals, but also with a ticket to the men’s Volleyball Nations League 2024.
Doha set for men’s Challenger Cup quarterfinals on Friday
Chile, China, Dominican Republic, Thailand, Tunisia, Türkiye, Ukraine and hosts Qatar to vie for promotion to VNL 2024
Publicado 03:32, 27 Jul 2023
The nations representing Africa and South America – Tunisia and Chile, respectively – will open Volleyball Challenger Cup 2023 with the first of four quarterfinals on Friday, starting at 11:00 local time (08:00 UTC). These two teams last met in a Rio Olympic qualifier in Mexico in 2016, when the Red Warriors from South America mastered a straight-set victory. Chile have played at all three of the previous Challenger Cup editions, but never made it to the semifinals. In fact, they have not won any of the five matches played at the competition. It will be the second straight participation of Tunisia. They also lost their quarterfinal (to Czechia) last year.
The second quarterfinal will match CEV European Golden League runners-up Ukraine to China, the lowest ranked challenger team in VNL 2023. It will be the rookie appearance in Challenger Cup action for either of these two teams, who will lock horns for a spot in the semis at 14:00 local time (11:00 UTC). It will also be the first encounter between the men’s national teams of Ukraine and China at a major international competition.
The third semifinalist will be determined in an all-Asian clash between hosts Qatar and 2023 AVC Challenge Cup winners Thailand, starting at 17:00 local time (14:00 UTC). While Thailand are about to make their rookie appearance in Challenger Cup action, Qatar made their first attempt in 2022, when they lost their quarterfinal match to Türkiye. The two sides last met at a major international competition in 2018, when the Qataris shut out the Thais in an Asian Cup fixture.
2023 CEV European Golden League champions Türkiye, one of the main contenders for this year’s Challenger Cup title, will take on Dominican Republic in the fourth quarterfinal on Friday, starting at 20:00 (17:00). The Caribbeans were the first team to qualify for Volleyball Challenger Cup 2023, when they won the NORCECA Final Four tournament back in 2022. They will play at the Challenger Cup for the first time, while the Turks are about to make their third consecutive appearance. In 2019, they finished fourth and, in 2022, they reached the final, only to lose to Cuba, just short of the coveted berth in the Volleyball Nations League. Türkiye and Dominican Republic will meet at a major international competition for the first time.
In Saturday’s semifinals, the winner of the Türkiye v Dominican Republic quarterfinal will meet the winner of the Ukraine v China match-up, and the winner of the Qatar v Thailand game will take on the winner of the Thailand v Chile encounter. Sunday’s bronze medal match is set to start at 16:00 local time (13:00 UTC). The final is scheduled three hours later, at 19:00 (16:00).