PRESS RELEASE 18.06.2004


European League - Russia and Germany lead pools

Luxembourg, June 17, 2004 - In the remaining match of the European League’s fourth round between Russia and Turkey in Pool 1, which had to be rescheduled due to the Turkish men team’s participation at the European Championships Qualification tournament for category B in Denmark last weekend, the Russians captured two victories.

After Russia and Turkey shared their first two matches in Bursa (TUR) in the third leg of the European League, where a total of six legs are played in each pool to determine the Final Four, the Russians showed no mercy when they beat Turkey 3-0 and 3-1 at home in Belgorod (RUS).

The first match was plain sailing for the home team, defeating the Turks in three clear sets. Whereas the guests had not yet fully recovered from their strenuous journey, the Russians performed strong, allowing themselves the privilege of giving away 20 points to Turkey by service mistakes only. The third set was more endangered for Russia when the players of Turkish head coach Nedim Ozbey took control, leading the Russians with a minimum of two points throughout most of the set. However, the Russians, who were supported by around 3,500 spectators in each encounter, did not let the third set slip away, taking home the first encounter 3-0. ‘My players were in a physical disadvantage today because of the long, tiring trip’, commented Ozbey after the match, ‘and things are not made any easier when your opponents line up their ‘giants’’, referring to Stanislav Dineikine (2.15m) and Alexei Kazakov (2.17m).

Starting the revenge match in a much better shape, the Turkish squad managed to draw level with the favourites (1-1) but did not, however, find the right weapon to successfully defend the powerful attacking shots by the Russians.

Furthermore, the guests produced 19 errors on their service compared to ‘only’ 10 yesterday. Not even the 18 points of top scorer Sinan Cem Tanik (followed by Andrei Egortchev with 16 points) could help Turkey to win another set, so that Russia booked a 3-1 victory, regaining their first spot in Pool 1 ahead of the Czech Republic. For the Russian head coach, Gennady Shipulin, the European League offers the ideal preparation for the Olympic challenge in

August- ‘We are testing several different player combinations in order be able to line up the best team to qualify for the European League Final Four and for winning the gold medal at the Olympic Games.’ Together with Italy and the Netherlands, Russia finds itself in Pool B, competing against world’s number one Brazil, the United States and Australia. Pool A consists of defending champion Serbia & Montenegro, France, Greece, Poland, as well as Argentina and Tunisia.