Exclusive interview by Masoud Hossein

I congratulate improvement of Iranian women: Rita Subowo

December 29, 2020 - 1:18

TEHRAN – President of Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Rita Subowo is happy with the improvement of Iranian women’s volleyball team and predicts that the Team could be among the top teams of the world like the Iranian men’s volleyball team soon.

Subowo made history in late October after she was elected as the first-ever woman to lead AVC.

A key figure in the Olympic Movement in Asia and an Honorary Life Vice-President of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), the Indonesian lady praised the Iranian girls pursuing the sport in an exclusive interview with Tehran Times.

 Tehran Times: You are the first woman in history to lead the AVC. It shows that the continent’s associations have bestowed upon you. I think it will be a challenging job for you since volleyball has been always headed by men in Asia.

I have worked with AVC more than 30 years with the five AVC Presidents and also worked with three FIVB Presidents until now. It is a greatest honor for me to be elected as AVC President by 65 AVC affiliated federations and my greatest challenge to lead volleyball in Asia to compete with the other four continents. As my long experience as FIVB and AVC Vice Presidents as well as IOC Member, I will try my utmost effort together with all the members of AVC Board of Administration to develop and promote volleyball in Asia.

Women’s volleyball in Asia has progressed over the past years and some teams such as Thailand and South Korea have joined China and Japan. Do you have any plan to support the teams to strengthen more?

Women volleyball in Asia is now one of the most popular sports and are among the top teams of the world. I am very pleased to see that not only China, Japan and Korea are the top teams of Asia but also Thailand, Kazakhstan, Chinese Taipei and Iran have joined them. The gap among top eight women teams of Asia is closer, the fans are more excited with the matches of the mentioned teams. I expect to support more Asian women teams like Australia, Vietnam, Indonesia and Philippines to improve their teams close to the top eight teams of Asia by organizing more women’s events in order for them to have more opportunity to get more experience with the top teams of Asia. I also expect to have more Asian women teams among the top 10 of the World Ranking.

Volleyball is a gender balanced sport by nature but the men’s competitions are being held at a higher level. Do you have any plan to narrow the gap?

It is not true that the men competitions are being held at a higher level than women competitions. It depends upon the countries like in Iran, the level of men competition is higher than women. But women competitions are higher than men in many countries like in China, Japan and Thailand. Each federation has to try to balance if the gap of men and women is much different.

Iranian women have started to make their way to the forefront of Asian volleyball. Do you have a message for the Iranian girls pursuing the sport?

I sincerely congratulate the improvement of Iran women teams, the women teams of Iran at all levels have been improving very fast and now are among the top eight of Asia. I am confident that the Iran Women Team could be among the top teams of the world like the Men soon.

Iran men’s team have established themselves as one of international volleyball's leading powers. The Persians are looking forward for podium in Tokyo Olympic Games. As a person who has served as the Executive Vice President of the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB), what’s the secret behind their success?

The secret behind the success of Iran Men Team is the greatest contribution and very hard work of the key persons of Iran Volleyball Federation together with very well-supported and excellent cooperation of all concerned, the government authority, sponsors, especially Iran volleyball’s fans.

The Iranian players including Amir Ghafour, Shahram Mahmoudi, Saeid Marouf, Mohammad Mousavi and Milad Ebadipour have stolen the show in the past decade. They can be the role model for the grassroots in the continent and the world.

All the volleyball stars of Iran and other distinguished players of Asia shall be the Idols and the sample for the young generations of our continent. I will try to recommend them through our media as soon as possible.

And the last question. Iran was chosen to host FIVB Volleyball Boys’ Under 19 World Championship by the FIVB and it’s an opportunity for the county to show the world how strong Asia is. Do you intend to travel to Iran for the competition?

If I have no important activity during FIVB Volleyball Boys’ U19 World Championship in Iran, I will join this important championship.