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26/09/2017 20:34
Volleyball is on the rise in Belarus as shown by historic results
2017 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Women

Baku, Azerbaijan, September 26, 2017. It has been a truly remarkable year for Volleyball in Belarus – back in April they won bronze at the #EuroVolleyU18W in the Netherlands, later this summer they finished in fourth place at the first-ever U16 women’s European Championship and now their ‘senior’ national team is among the top eight in Europe for the first time since 1995!

Belarus achieved this feat on Tuesday afternoon after a truly dramatic come-from-behind 3-2 victory over the Czech Republic – with their opponents only two points away from securing a 3-0 win by the score of 24-all in the third set. Team captain Aksana Kavalchuk is the leader of a group, which stands out for its fighting spirit and determination to battle until the very end.

“As we travelled to Georgia and Azerbaijan, we could not hide our high ambitions but we had a rather difficult start to the tournament, lost two sets to Croatia before we came back and won that match 3-2. As far as the pool phase goes, I think we improved with each match,” she said. Belarus first took one set from the heavy favourites in Pool B, Italy before routing Georgia in three to secure they would finish second in the group.

Volleyball is definitely on the rise in the Republic of Belarus – and the team is among the top eight in Europe for the first time since 1995. “This is definitely a big thing. We have many young, talented players – and they all dream of playing abroad at later stages of their careers. As a result, there is definitely more to come from us. On top of this, there has been a re-shuffle on top of the management of the National Federation and we now have a President [former international referee Aliaksandr Piasetski] who is literally passionate about Volleyball and fond of the game. We do receive a lot of support and we hope we can continue to develop in the same way as we have done lately – so that more and more people back home in Belarus fall in love with Volleyball and they follow our game as closely as they do with ice hockey.”

The youth national team of Belarus, bronze medal winners from the 2017 #EuroVolleyU18W in Arnhem

This positive development started a couple of years ago already with Belarus taking top honours from EEVZA age-group competitions. A number of players have moved abroad to play, inter alia, for the likes of Uralochka-NTMK EKATERINBURG and Olympiacos PIRAEUS, this applying to youngster Hanna Klimets and to the more experienced Nadzeya Smirnova (Malasai), who this season won silver from the CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup with the Greek club.   

The next stop in the tournament will come on Thursday when Belarus play Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallists Serbia – quite a huge thing. “I think we will fight as much as we can – I guess there is no other option,” Kavalchuk said. “Who knows, maybe we can rely on our newly developed tactic – which is to play two very bad sets at the beginning of the match to come back strong as we have done already with Croatia and Czech Republic,” she adds with a bright smile.

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