Belarusian volleyball players to play at European Championship
Belarusian men’s volleyball team through to European Championship finals
By Valentin Orlov
The squad, headed by famous Russian coach Victor Sidelnikov, has earned four victories across six matches in the qualification round, securing itself first place in the next group, which comprises Turkey, the UK and Portugal.
Initially, the task seemed rather daunting, as all the opponents had experience of top tournaments and the British had recently taken part in the Olympic Games. Moreover, after an early three match wins, the Belarusian squad’s leading players were suffering from injuries in the first match of the second round and, therefore, had to hope for a lucky outcome in the meeting of their rivals.
Mr. Sidelnikov stresses that the success is the result of much training. “I’ve achieved the result I was aiming for on becoming head of the national squad. You need a target and, after the last the European Championship, held in spring 2010, we set a task for my trainees. Gradually, we are achieving it. I knew that we’re able to do this. Meanwhile, 2013 European Championship qualification is already history from which we should make the necessary conclusions for the future. Our team will have to maintain the bar, raised to a new level, and prove not accidental character of our success,” notes Mr. Sidelnikov. According to him, the task is quite within our powers taking into account previous experience.
“It’s too early to speak about plans; we first need to learn the results of the draw and to assess our rivals,” he adds.
At present, alongside Belarus and national teams of Poland and Denmark — the hosts of the tournament — the place in the European Championship finals was secured by squads from the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, France, Serbia, Italy, Russia, Slovakia and Bulgaria. The remaining three entrants will become known next May when the winners of Croatia-Slovenia, Greece-Belgium and Turkey-Latvia will be determined.
After the third round of the qualification our girls can join men on the European arena. In the second round of the qualifying tournament, hosted by Baku, Belarusians came second in Group C and the national team will face Slovakia in the play-offs for the right to perform at the European Championship.