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Press releases
 
Russians return to Osaka with golden memories
 
Osaka, Japan, August 16, 2007 - The moment the Russians stepped inside Osaka Municipal Central Gymnasium, the memories came flooding back. Memories of a pulsating tie-break victory over Brazil in the FIVB World Championship final last November; memories of the gold medals around their necks; memories of their proud celebrations.
When asked how it felt to return to the scene of the success, Elena Godina summed it up perfectly. "Really beautiful," she said, in an interview after Thursday's training session. "We remember everything. Even when we came back to the changing room we said 'here we were very happy. We were celebrating here. We also feel like this is a continuation of last year, of the past, so we are very glad to come back here."
After the golden glory of the World Championship, the Russians are back to work in the annual Grand Prix, and preparing to face Poland, Kazakhstan and Japan in the last weekend of the preliminary round.
From Japan they will head for China and the six-team round-robin final tournament from August 22-26, when they will attempt to improve on their silver medal finish in Italy last year -- losing in the final to Brazil.
Looking back on their battles with Brazil in 2006, Godina said: "We respect them like other rivals and we know that this is one of the strongest teams in the world; I can say the strongest team, because it is very difficult always to play with them. I think it will be tough also this year, and we are preparing for the final and a very tough game."
With a 5-1 win-loss record in the opening two weeks, Godina is happy with the team's form and spirit. "We have new girls and they are playing well. They are also very good friends, so we are a good group and it is very comfortable to work and to play together."
Russia will open proceedings here Friday afternoon against Poland, before meeting Kazakhstan on Saturday and Japan in the Sunday evening finale. "We played Japan before in the Yeltsin Cup but I am sure they changed," she said. "They also took good form, shape. Kazakhstan we played with them last week so we know them particularly well, and Poland also we played with them in Poland, but I heard they are playing much, much, much better. We will study the game and we will prepare very well."

 

  
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