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FIVB president expects volleyball to peak in Olympics
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International Federation de Volleyball (FIVB) president Dr. Ruben Acosta expects volleyball and beach volleyball to be the most successful sports in the Beijing Olympic Games.

"I hope beach volleyball and volleyball will be the most successful sports in this Olympic Games, that's my expectation," said Acosta, who is handing over the presidency to Chinese Wei Jizhong at the end of the Games in the Chinese capital.

The FIVB president was quite satisfied with the organization and preparation for volleyball and beach volleyball tournaments of the Games.

"They are doing a very professional job, they follow very strictly the FIVB guideline that we gave one year before," said the 74-year-old Mexican. "Every aspect of the preparation has been properly taken care of.

"The organization is perfect, it's a great success. The BOCOG has done a very good job."

The Beijing Games are the most competitive Olympic Games for volleyball and beach volleyball, according to Acosta.

"The most wonderful part of the Games are the teams and the players and they are performing at the highest level that we have seen in the last Olympics," he said. "It is the most competitive Olympic tournament we have ever had."

The FIVB president believes that the beach volleyball stadium in the Chaoyang Park is the best ever stadium for beach volleyball in the Olympic history.

"The stadium is really nice, with 12,000 seats, very good seating and the best view," he said.

Nevertheless, the volleyball chief suggested the BOCOG take some measures to increase the attendance for beach volleyball matches.

The Beijing Games has a special meaning for Acosta, who has guided the FIVB for 24 years before retiring on August 24.

"I am seeing volleyball at the highest level, now volleyball is no more 'one more sport' of the Olympic program, volleyball is really the highlight of Olympic Games."

It is the time to let somebody else to lead the development of the sport, Acosta said.

"This is very important. It's part of my plan," he said.

"We have accomplished everything we planned from the very beginning. Beach volleyball is in Olympic Games, beach volleyball is a tremendous success, the FIVB has a very strong structure, the FIVB has a very good development program, very good marketing programs and television activities. Somebody must come to have another criteria to put it into a different way."

The FIVB has only had two presidents: the founding president Paul Libaud, who had been in charge for 32 years, and Acosta.

"Somebody must come with different views. Mr. Wei Jizhong is well prepared. He is capable, he is a very wise person, I have no doubt with him the FIVB will continue growing and growing and volleyball succeeding and succeeding."

Despite the handover in one week's time, Acosta said he would not be far away from the sport.

"I have the intention not just being an honorary president," he said. "Mr. Wei and I will have close communication, and we will maintain support for each other.

"I will intend to have meetings often with Mr. Wei, not to give instructions, because I am unable to give any instructions any more, but to analyze together the revolution of volleyball and the best way to tackle the problem of our sport.

"I am not abandoning volleyball, I am just passing the responsibility to somebody else."

In his 24 years term as the FIVB president, the best moment came for Acosta after the Athens Games when volleyball became the No. 1 sport on television.

"I had a very satisfying moment at the Athens Olympic Games for many reasons," he said. "Volleyball and beach volleyball were great success, both with spectators and televisions.

"We were No. 1 sport on television in Athens, my wildest dream was to have volleyball over all the sports and we did it in Athens."

(Xinhua News Agency August 16, 2008)

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