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EuroVolley: Serbian women 2017 European champions, Azerbaijan continent’s fourth

02 October 2017 [17:15] - TODAY.AZ

By Azernews

By Amina Nazarli

Baku has once again hosted a prestigious competition in the European sporting history -- 2017 CEV Volleyball European Championship, which gifted exciting sporting fest to Bakuvians.   

Azerbaijan’s capital was picked to host the Volleyball Championship along with Georgia. 2017 Women’s EuroVolley became something truly special and provided all teams and fans with an unforgettable experience.

Sixteen strongest teams of the continent ‘fought’ to the last strength to celebrate historic European crown at the iconic National Gymnastics Arena in Baku.

President Ilham Aliyev and his family members repeatedly paid a visit to the arena to watch matches of the host country.

After ten spectacular days packed with a total of 36 matches in three cities including Baku, Ganja and Tbilisi (Georgia), the historic 2017 Volleyball European Championship ended on Sunday with Serbia standing on top of the podium. 

Serbia capped a perfect campaign at the 2017 edition of the women’s EuroVolley with a 3-1 victory over the Netherlands in the ‘grand finale’ to claim their second European title in history – to go with the gold medal they won at home in Belgrade in 2011.

Tijana Boskovic, player of Serbia and MVP said: “We are European champions, this feeling is incredible! We played really well, like one, as a team from the beginning. We lost only two sets from the start of the European Championship.  We worked five months for this and you can see the result,” reported.

A dream of historic medal was a short lived one for the players from the ‘Land of Fire’ making their second-ever appearance in a EuroVolley semi-final, the first since 2005. After their ‘heart-breaking’ loss to the Netherlands in the semi-finals, Azerbaijan took for one last time to the court, chasing its first-ever European Championship medal. Turkey was the opponent standing on the other side of the net. 

The host team caught a promising start to the bronze medal match with Turkey but could not keep that same pace for long and its opponents eventually stormed to a 3-1 victory. As a result, Turkey’s women celebrated their third European Championship medal in history along with the silver and bronze they won in 2003 and 2011, accordingly.

Although the national team could not take the highest prize, Libero of Azerbaijan's national women's volleyball team Valeriya Mammadova got into the symbolic team of the European Championship.  

The Championship was a truly historic premiere for Azerbaijan and its neighbor and co-host- Georgia, which have done more so far for the development of Volleyball in the Caucasus region.

Baku worked very hard and developed a close cooperation with many partners and did its best to deliver an excellent competition and a high-level championship.

The country’s efforts did not go unnoticed, as President of the European Volleyball Confederation (CEV) Alexander Boricic pointed out the organization of the EuroVolley simply magnificent.

“I have no words,” he told in an exclusive interview with Trend. “We made it right that we entrusted the championship to two countries - Azerbaijan and Georgia, which is a very good experience for all other federations.”

The next European Championship will be held in four countries, said Boricic adding: “We will further popularize volleyball, spectators in the stands will increase and accordingly, the popularity of women's volleyball will increase more and more in Europe.”

Concerning the game of the Azerbaijani national team, the head of the European Confederation said that the team had a very good tournament and its game pleased all the fans.

“The hall was full during the math of your team, I want to say special thanks to President Ilham Aliyev, who did not miss a single match of his team, supported it. I would like to thank the members of the government, the fans who supported the team throughout the tournament,” added Boricic.

“You know, fourth place in Europe is not given to everyone, your team has overtaken such teams as Russia, former European champion, strong teams of Italy, Belgium, Germany, Bulgaria, Poland,” he emphasized.

The president of the European Volleyball Confederation believes that it is necessary to develop youth volleyball in Azerbaijan to conduct domestic championships and national championships.

“We are working on a new strategy for developing volleyball in small towns now, and after the European Championships in Azerbaijan and Georgia we decided to open volleyball schools in Ganja and in Georgia,” said Boricic.


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