Malkia land in Argentina to hunt Grand Prix consolation


Malkia Strikers celebrate a point against Puerto Rico during their 3-0 defeat to the hosts ...
(FILE)Malkia Strikers celebrate a point against Puerto Rico during their 3-0 defeat to the hosts at the FIVB World Olympics Qualifying on Monday. PHOTO/Dennis Machio

National Women’s volleyball team landed in Buenos Aires on Tuesday en-route to Tucuman, Argentina for the FIVB World Grand Prix after failing to secure a slot at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Qualifiers in Puerto Rico.

Malkia Strikers lost two matches in San Juan to Colombia and hosts Puerto Rico to end their interest in the Brazil Summer Games and will vie in Group 2 of the FIVB circuit- tournament in Tucuman next month.

The players will be hosted for a one-week camp in Tucuman by the home federation before the start of the World Grand Prix on June 3 hoping to erase their Olympics disappointment.

Malkia will take on Argentina aka “Las Panteras” the Dominican Republic and Bulgaria in Tucuman before travelling to Poland where they will take on the hosts and earn a quick chance of revenge against Puerto Rico who snuffed their Olympics dream on Tuesday. Argentina will also be involved.

Kenya made their second consecutive FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix appearance in 2015 and surpassed expectations by winning Group 3 with victory over Peru in the final.

In the 2014 tournament they finished a creditable fifth in Group 3, only missing out on the final four because of a lower set-ratio than Kazakhstan.

Kenya recorded wins against Mexico, Algeria and Australia but lost as many sets as they won during their six matches.

The Kenyans did not qualify for the 2014 edition of the FIVB Volleyball World Championship and last competed in the 2010 tournament when they finished joint- 21st after losing their five matches in straight sets.

The 2015 historic performance at the FIVB World Grand Prix saw Malkia promoted to the Second Group of the Grand Prix to be played in June 2016.

It will be the third consecutive year Argentina have hosted games in the World Grand Prix after its experiences in Lomas de Zamora in 2014 and Formosa last year.

Group 2, the 8 teams were drawn in 4 pools of 4 teams. In each pool, all teams will compete in round robin format. The results of all 4 pools will combine in 1 ranking table. The hosts and the top three ranked teams will play in the final round.

The last ranked team after the Intercontinental Round could be relegated if the winners of the Group 3 Final Round can meet the promotion requirements set by the FIVB.

The winning teams will play in the final match for gold medals and a chance for promotion.

Match Schedule

Tucuman

June 4: Kenya vs Argentina/ Dominican Republic vs Bulgaria

June 5: Kenya vs Bulgaria/Dominican Republic vs Argentina

June 5: Dominican Republic vs Kenya/Argentina vs Bulgaria

Poland

June 10: Kenya vs Puerto Rico/ Poland vs Argentina

June 11: Kenya vs Poland/Argentina vs Puerto Rico

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Story By Carol Kones
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