Mammadova looks forward to historic EuroVolley on home soil
2017 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Women
Baku, Azerbaijan, November 25, 2016. Valeriya Mammadova, also known as Korotenko, has been a member of Azerbaijan women’s national team for many years. Though she has had a long and successful career, she very much looks forward to next year’s EuroVolley which will be taking place in Azerbaijan and neighbouring Georgia for the first time ever. It is truly Volleyball history in the making and Mammadova very much hopes to be a part of it.
Valeriya and former teammate Oksana Kurt stood on stage on Thursday night as they helped draw the 16 teams participating in the women’s EuroVolley across the four preliminary pools to be contested in Baku, Tbilisi and Ganja – Göygöl. “We know that a European Championship will be taking place in our country for the first time in history, so this is the opportunity of a lifetime,” Mammadova said.
The EuroVolley will be important not only for the players of the national team, but also for the future of Volleyball in Azerbaijan as well as in the entire Caucasus region. “In my opinion we should start preparing now in order to be as ready as possible for this tournament,” she said. “We were quite disappointed with our performance in the last edition of the European Championship, so we want to make amends for this and our wish is to make it as far as possible in the tournament, hoping to be able to contest the match where the gold medal will be at stake,” she added.
The Azerbaijani authorities have highlighted that the EuroVolley represents another milestone, and yet a key one in further establishing the ‘Land of Fire’ as a country that is capable of successfully organising competitions of the highest level. This came to the fore last year when Baku hosted the inaugural European Games, where the women’s Volleyball national team finished the competition in fourth place.
“I only have nice memories from the European Games, the whole country was kind of vibrating and standing behind us,” Mammadova said. “I know we were quite disappointed because we failed to win a medal, but we have to move on and focus on the next big thing, which is to do well at this first, historic European Championship on home soil.”
It still takes quite a few months until the first match will be played on September 22, 2017 – in the meantime Mammadova will continue to play in the Azerbaijani Superleague as well as in the CEV Volleyball Champions League with Azerrail BAKU. “We have many young players on our team together with some foreigners, so it is difficult to make any predictions about our chances, but we will use each single match to prepare in the best way for this historic European Championship on home soil.”