Matches to be played behind closed doors as 'mark of respect'
Chan Kin-wa in Macau
The FIVB World Women's Grand Prix will be played behind closed doors at the Macau Forum today as a mark of respect for the victims of the recent mudslide in Gansu.
Macau sports authorities decided late last night to play today's matches instead of cancelling the tournament. This means the remaining matches, featuring China against Brazil and the Dominican Republic versus the Netherlands will not be attended by spectators because of 'national Remorse Day'.
'We have decided to play the matches behind closed doors. All 3,000 tickets that had been sold will be refunded,' said Vong Lao-Lek, President of Macau Sport Development.
'All four teams have been informed of the decision.'
Macau TV are expected to air the remaining matches live.
China are scheduled to take part in the World Grand Prix Hong Kong leg which starts on Friday and it is not known if the change will also affect the SAR tournament.
Major sporting activities in China will be stopped today, including First Division football and the table tennis super league.
Meanwhile, China endured a double blow as their campaign in the tournament suffered a major setback, losing to the unfancied Dominican Republic 3-2 yesterday.
The former world champions were beaten by the Latin Americans - who also beat China in an invitational tournament in May - just hours after losing two key players through injury and sickness.
The Dominican Republic took advantage to grind out a surprise 25-20, 20-25, 21-15, 25-22, 15-9 victory.
Hui Ruoqi was forced to withdraw from the tournament with a shoulder injury sustained during Friday night's clash with the Dutch, while Li Juan was hit by fever, forcing her to pull out yesterday morning.
It was China's first defeat in the 2010 FIVB World Grand Prix.
Brazil, the 2008 Olympic champions, cruised to a 3-1 win over the Netherlands in an earlier match.
China, who won all three matches in the Chengdu leg last week and their opening match in Macau against the Netherlands, found it difficult to keep up the momentum without Hui and Li.
Replacements Fan Linlin and Chen Liyi were unable to rise to the occasion and coach Wang Baoquan said the Dominican Republic's surprise win came down to the absence of Hui and Li.
'Our setting was terrible and their replacements failed to perform because they lack the opportunity to play at a high level,' Wang said.