ANKARA, Turkey, 28 September - Poland on Sunday outplayed hosts Turkey to capture the coveted Women's European Volleyball Championship title in style with a 3-0 confident victory. Both teams now qualify for the World Cup in Japan in November, the first Olympic qualifier.
Earlier Germany won the bronze medal defeating Netherlands 3-2
Poland's 25-17, 25-14, 25-17 victory was decisive and solid. They outplayed the home squad in around one hour in what was a class final. Poland stayed concentrated and calm even in the face of fierce support by more than 6,000 Turkish fans, including President Tayyip Erdogan. They were worthy title holders.
Although coach Andrej Niemczyk had already said that they were happy to have achieved a place in the finals, it was clear that the Polish players were hungry for the title and it was fitting that it was left to Magorz Niemczyk Wolska, daughter of the coach, to drive home a fantastic spike to close the match.
Poland came to the championship with a clever mix of youth and experience including Niemczyk Wolska, Magdalena Sliwa (best setter of the event) and Malgorzeta Glinska who was top scorer with 18 points in the final match, and was also best scorer for the tournament with a total of 144 points.
"Our goal was to reach the final and qualify for World Cup,' Niemczyk stated. 'This title is more than we expected and a reward for the work of my team. He said it was a big advantage that he had worked in Turkey for many years and had trained nine of the Turkish players. "I knew exactly what they can and what they can't do. I ordered my players to serve extremely strong and that's what they did," he added.
For Niemczyk, who is a cancer survivor, fighting now comes naturally. The win was well deserved for this hard working coach.
Germany won the bronze medal after a dramatic five sets victory over Netherlands. The German team won the first two sets easily, but the 1995 European Champion bounced back and leveled the match by winning set three and four. When the Dutch squad led 12-9 in the fifth set tiebreaker, it looked like they had the bronze medal in the pocket. Germany then saved three Dutch match points and eventually sealed the match at 18-16.
Defending title holder Russia claimed fifth position by defeating world Champions Italy in earlier Sunday action and the championship has produced disappointing performances from both teams.
Bulgaria claimed the seventh position after winning against Romania 3-1.
The first six ranked teams (Poland, Turkey, Netherlands, Germany Italy and Russia) qualify for the European Olympic Qualification tournament, which will be held in Baku (AZE) Jan 5-10, 2004. The four semifinalists - Turkey, Germany, Poland and Netherlands also automatically qualify for the 2005 Women's European Championships, which will take place in Croatia.
FINAL: POL - TUR 3-0 (25-17, 25-14, 25-17)
Classification 3-4: GER - NED 3-2 (25-20, 25-15, 24-26 23-25, 18-16)
Classification 5-6: RUS - ITA 3-0 (25-16, 25-14, 25-20)
Classification 7-8: BUL - ROM 3-1 (25-21, 20-25, 25-20, 25-22)
1. POL - Qualified for World Cup.
2. TUR - Qualified for World Cup.
Best Scorer: Malgorzata Glinska (POL)
Best Spiker: Elizaveta Tichtchenko (RUS)
Best Blocker: Kathy Radzuweit (GER)
Best Server: Elles Leferink (NED)
Best Digger: Gulden Kayalar (TUR)
Best Setter: Magdalena Sliwa (POL)
Best Reveiver: Nicoleta Tolisteanu (ROM)