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26/03/2014 09:00
Alexander Volkov: a man of fair play
2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League - Men

Kazan, Russia, March 26, 2014. Though they were definitely unhappy with their performance at the Final Four Tournament of the 2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League where they had to be content with fourth place, the “Gladiators” of Zenit KAZAN travelled home with two individual honors, with their captain Alexander Volkov receiving the Fair Play Award introduced this season for the very first time while Maxim Mikhaylov was presented the prize for the Best Spiker of the competition. 

Click here for a comprehensive gallery of the Final Four Tournament in Ankara

This action follows up on the innovative “Fair Play – Volleyball Way” campaign that the European Volleyball Confederation launched last June in conjunction with the DOL for the 2014 edition of Europe’s flagship club competition.   
“It was a very pleasant surprise,” Volkov says. “I have tried to stick to the principles of fair play for the whole weekend and as far as possible to behave like a gentleman would do. For this reason I am very proud that I travelled back to Kazan with this distinction that I will add to my personal showcase at home. I am very proud of this award because it testifies that I always behave correctly towards the referees and our opponents. I know that this edition of the CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League was held under the slogan “Fair Play – Volleyball Way”. I think it is very good that emphasis is being put on fair play and the necessity for everyone involved – referees, players, and coaches – to respect each other. All together we can create an excellent product called Volleyball that will attract more and more fans. Sometimes emotions go wild because you are in the middle of a battle but we need to show a spirit of fair play so that at the end of the day we can shake hands and eventually congratulate our rivals on their victory.”    

Since a couple of seasons Volkov has been the captain of Zenit KAZAN. “It is an honor because it shows that the coaching staff and your teammates trust me. My responsibility is to liaise between the players and the coaches, to create some kind of a bridge. I have to be the leader of the group, cheer my friends up in difficult situations and find the right words in the dressing rooms before actions go underway. Right now we are in a difficult situation, especially after this disappointing fourth place in the Finals of the Champions League. All together we have to stand this moment, get over it and perform our best in the Playoffs of the Russian Superleague which is the last title we can win this season.”   

Volkov was back in action last October after missing the entire 2012/2013 season due to a serious knee injury. “I really went through difficult times last year especially because I could not help my team and had to follow the matches from the stands. However, I really wanted to come back and was confident I could recover and perform my best again. I did not surrender and worked very hard so that the injury could be treated as needed. I will never forget the support of our fans that have always been at my side by the time I was off the court. However, I still have no regrets that I decided to play at the Olympics in London while I was already dealing with this injury. If I could go back, I would do the same. The value of an Olympic gold medal is just priceless.”

Picture: Alexander Volkov presented with the Fair Play Award by CEV Senior Vice President Aleksandar Boricic at the end of the Final Four Tournament of the 2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League in Ankara

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