China Volleyball Challenger Cup-min

Chinese players and head coach Vital Heynen celebrate their victory

After one year of absence, China men’s national team will return to the Volleyball Nations League in 2025 following their victory at the final edition of the FIVB Volleyball Challenger Cup, which was held in their homecourt Linyi.

  • Watch Volleyball Challenger Cup 2024 replays and highlights on VBTV

With the triumph in front of their home fans, the Chinese will be one of the 18 national teams to appear in the VNL 2025 – they previously competed in the event in 2018, 2019, 2022 and 2023. Also playing in next year’s expanded format will be the 16 national teams that were represented in 2024 and the highest-ranked team not yet qualified in the FIVB World Ranking.

In order to take gold on Sunday, China had to win three matches over the week in Linyi. The last of them, the gold medal match ended with a 3-1 (25-20, 25-20, 22-25, 25-22) victory over Belgium that pleased their fans.

The match’s top scorer with 23 points (22 kills, one block), opposite Wang Jingyi played a major role in the Chinese victory, as well as outside hitter Zhang Jingyin, who added another 20, with 16 kills, two blocks and two aces.

“We’ve been watching Belgium for two days and had a lot of information on them,” Jingyi said. “We were ready for anything they could do, so I think we deserved this victory. This is the happiest moment of my life.”

Volleyball Challenger Cup – Results

Belgium’s top scorer was opposite Ferre Reggers, with 19 points (18 kills, one ace), followed by outside hitter Seppe Rotty, with 12.

Olympic-bound Egypt finish third

Set to compete at the Paris Olympics in a few weeks, Egypt got a nice confidence booster with their third-place finish in the Challenger Cup. The Africans fought hard for their first international medal at this level, battling Ukraine for five sets before winning 3-2 (21-25, 25-20, 20-25, 25-17, 15-13).

Opposite Reda Haikal carried the Egyptian offense in the bronze medal match, producing a team-high 24 points, with 16 kills, five aces and three blocks. After him, outside hitter Ahmed Azab was the most productive, with 13.

“This victory today was very important for us to get some valuable ranking points as Ukraine are a really good team and occupy a great spot in the ranking,” Haikal reflected. “We’re preparing very well for the Olympics and that’s what we’ll focus on now.”

Ukraine had their offense split into four main players – outside hitters Oleksandr Nalozhnyi (19 points) and Yevhenii Kisiliuk (15), opposite Viktor Shapoval (15) and middle blocker Oleksandr Koval (12).