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Monday, November 15, 1999, updated at 09:15(GMT+8)
Sports Russia Snatches First Sydney Olympics Volleyball Ticket

European champions Russia became the first team to qualify for the Sydney Olympic Games when they beat China in the World Cup women's volleyball tournament on Sunday.

The Russian women, hot favorites after beating the Atlanta Olympic three medalists Cuba, China and Brazil to win the World Grand Prix in August, scored 25-23, 15-25, 25-13, 25-17 in Nagoya, central Japan.

The Atlanta fourth-placer Russia topped the standings with nine straight wins and no defeats to secure a top three place in the 12- team round robin tournament and won their ticket to Sydney.

Brazil earlier posted a victory over Italy 25-22, 25-12, 25-17 for an 8-1 win-loss record, but they have to wait at least one more day to take a berth in the Olympics.

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