Volleyball has always stood out among women's playing sports since the Soviet times: girls managed to delight fans with victories at the World and European Championships. There were ups and downs, but it only twisted the intrigue and aroused interest and desire to analyze. Ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games. Twice a silver medalist, the Russian women's volleyball team has never tried on the winners ’laurels. How ready is she to take the top of the sports Olympus?
A bit of history
The Russian national volleyball team, the successor to the Soviet team, trained for many years under the leadership of Nikolai Karpol, the legend of Russian sports. With him, she firmly took the title of the strongest on the European continent - of the six European championships, girls became the winners of four. And they were close to the gold of Athens (Olympics 2004), only in the final losing to the cubes. The national team was formed on the basis of the strongest team in the domestic championship, and it seemed that nothing portended a change.
The controversial manning and the subsequent train of trainers (there were four of them, including the Italian legionnaire) led to a twelve-year period of setbacks on the European continent. These were not disastrous years: the World Championships of 2006 and 2010 obeyed the team, she was among the three winners of the Grand Prix, her skeleton was made up of stars of the first magnitude - Lyubov Sokolova, Svetlana Kryuchkova, Ekaterina Gamova. But the excitement was caused by the fact that the basis was made by the same players. And they had injuries, recessions in the game, misunderstanding with the coach.
The next gold in the European Championships was won only in 2013 with the arrival of Yuri Marichev, the current head coach, who headed for the rejuvenation of the team and its annual formation. This is evidence of a strategic goal - to head for the 2016 Olympics.
To guarantee access to the Olympics, the Russian national volleyball team had to overcome the European qualification tournament. In January 2016, the girls completed this task, beating the Dutch team. It was this team that won the victory in the European Championship a year earlier. Then newcomers went through baptism of fire: five received an invitation to the team for the first time. Only four of the experienced in the team remained: Natalia Goncharova (Obmochaeva), who brought 24 points to the piggy bank at the qualifying tournament, Tatyana Kosheleva (23), Julia Morozova and Svetlana Kryuchkova.
Professionals evaluate the game of all roles: the defenders pleased, the stable forwards (only the first pace is not enough), the binders did not show themselves. This is important, but there are four months to improve the game, to make the team truly united and focused on the result. The minimum program has been completed - the women's volleyball team does not go to Japan, like most others, for the next selection stage, choosing the direct road to the Olympics.
Success on the eve of major competitions
In early April, joyful news came from Krasnodar: the local Dynamo won the European Cup of European Volleyball Confederation, defeating the Turkish Galatasaray in the final. It was an important victory, to look at which the whole leadership of the volleyball federation gathered:
- the team includes a number of key players, candidates for the national team, who need to feel the taste of victory;
- Russians lost their first game in Turkey (3: 2);
- after the injury Tatyana Kosheleva, the main striker, returned from the playground since February;
- it is necessary to check the young for morale and strong-willed attitude.
The Russian national volleyball team is clearly replenished with the best Dynamo players: Russian Natalya Malykh received a prize as the most valuable player in the EKB. The game was held in a bitter struggle, and what was happening on the site inspires optimism.
What will be the composition of the Russian national volleyball team in Rio
Today, representatives of five clubs are in the main team. Most of the legionnaires from Moscow and Krasnodar Dynamo: eight people. Ekaterina Kosyanenko, Anna Malova, Yana Shcherban, Irina Fetisova and Ekaterina Lyubushkina from Moscow. Natalya Malykh, Natalya Khodunova and Lyubov Sokolova represent Krasnodar. The honor of Dynamo Kazan is upheld by Elena Ezhova and Evgenia Startseva. Ksenia Ilchenko is a delegate from Uralochka, and Irina Zaryazhko is Uralochka - NTKM.
On the eve of the Olympics, the Russians are waiting for another important tournament - the Grand Prix, starting in June. The first stage will be held in Russia (rivals - Holland, Turkey and Belgium), the second - in Italy. In addition to the hosts, the team will play against Holland and Thailand. The final - in late June in Japan (rivals - Thailand, Serbia and the host country). The declared participants will clearly enter the national team, which will go to Brazil.
Yuri Marichev keeps the intrigue to the last: the Russian national volleyball team will be finally formed by April 22. First, 21 names will be announced, then 4 players will drop out, and finally an application for 14 Grand Prix participants will be generated. It is already known that a place in the team is guaranteed by unfading Lyubov Sokolova, who announced her retirement after the main competitions of the season. Perhaps the return to the team of Catherine Gamova. The country will know about the other participants very soon. About those who so want to see on the golden pedestal of Rio 2016.