PRESS RELEASE 21.01.2005


Georgia 's First Lady supports plan to bring Volleyball back to the schools
Winning team (Georgia West) with Mr. Akhvlediani and Mrs. Roelofs in the center.

Tbilisi, Georgia, January 20 - The Georgian Volleyball Federation organised a women's match between the East and the West regions of the nation, called "First Lady's Cup" in honour of Mrs. Sandra Roelofs the wife of Georgian President Mr. Mikhail Saakashvili. A very active promoter of Volleyball development in Georgia, she trained with the National Team in western Georgia six months ago, in front of more than 2'000 fans attending the training. Later, as the Georgian National Women's Team played its very first match ever, she carried the Georgian flag and supported the National team. Mr. Levan Akhvlediani, President of the Georgian Volleyball Federation and member of the FIVB's Development Commission, has started the traditional yearly match between the East and the West. This year, West won 1-3 in a thrilling four setter game (19:25, 25:22, 21:25, 19:25).

More then 5'000 supporters attended the game which was broadcast live on National Television and was the object of much mass media PR activity. The first Cup goes to West Georgia.

After the match Mrs. Roelofs said: "Between the ages of 8 to 18, I played Volleyball in Holland. It's a peaceful and non contact sport and I recommend parents to encourage their children to play Volleyball. I was very pleased to receive the invitation from Mr. Akhvlediani to support the federation in the future development of Volleyball in Georgia. It is wonderful that in the last few years Georgia has established its Men's and Women's National Teams. The Georgian Volleyball Federation has done a lot to promote the sport and I believe we have to bring it to the schools. It is a beautiful sport, which provides a healthy lifestyle and a means to prevent young people from getting into drugs."

"The objective is to place Volleyball among the top three sports in our country. Mrs. Roelofs's activity has increased young people's interest in Volleyball and the results are that many young people are now playing Volleyball. We appreciate the example of our First Lady, who regularly attends the national games and supports our National Teams. We want Volleyball to have its place in the schools as it was several years ago, when Georgia was part of the Soviet Union. Our efforts and the strong support of the FIVB will help us implement a special Volleyball programme in the schools," concluded Mr. Levan Akhvlediani.