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(Reuters) - Five volleyball players to watch out for at the Tokyo Olympics:
ALAN SOUZA (BRAZIL)
The opposite will be competing at his first Olympics with the aim of winning Brazil's fourth gold medal. He is the driving force of Sada Cruzeiro, the three-time Club World champions.
Souza, a towering 2.02m tall, was named the most valuable player (MVP) at the 2019 World Cup after leading his team undefeated to a third title. He tallied 165 points from 140 attacks, 10 blocks and 15 aces.
WILFREDO LEON (POLAND)
The 27-year-old, who is known as the Cristiano Ronaldo of volleyball, was named the best outside spiker in the 2019 FIVB World Cup Dream Team.
Cuban-born Leon can be devastating for his opponents due to a powerful vertical jump, impressive spiking efficiency and an amazing serve. His decision to emigrate has turned Poland into one of the world's best teams.
ZHU TING (CHINA)
China's key female player will be competing at her second Olympics in Tokyo. Since her debut in 2011, Zhu has received 13 MVP awards at all levels of competition, including at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
She is widely regarded as one of the best volleyball players of all time. She was also the highest-paid professional volleyball player in the world, male or female, during the 2018-2019 season.
FOLUKE GUNDERSON (UNITED STATES)
The 33-year-old, who gave birth to her first child in November 2019, is widely regarded as the premier middle blocker in the world and will be competing in her third Olympics.
Having won a silver medal in London in 2012 and a bronze in Rio four years later, she will looking to complete the set with gold in Tokyo.
PAOLA EGONU (ITALY)
Born in Italy to Nigerian parents, the 22-year-old topped the scoring charts at the 2018 women's world championship with an astonishing 324 points and was named best opposite spiker.
Standing at 1.93m, Egonu can leap to a spiking height of 3.44m and was MVP at the 2019 club world championship when her Imoco Volley Conegliano team took the title.
She made her Olympic debut as a teenager in Rio de Janeiro, having taken up the sport after watching some volleyball cartoons.
(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Karishma Singh)