Being part of the number one side in the world can make for an awkward time but Vadim Khamouttskikh has proven to be one of the more prominent stars that laden the crack Russian lineup.
The 2003 edition of the World League will be his seventh appearance in the global event and he no doubt has intentions of continuing where he left off in 2002. During last year's World League final round he topped the ratings in two of the six individual categories, serving and setting, belying his 33 years.
Obviously he is one of the elder statesmen in the defending champion's arsenal but it's this experience, which makes him such a lethal opponent. Russian coach Guennadi Chipouline recognizes this having named him in the starting lineup for every game in last year's competition.
Since his debut for Russia in 1992, his 196cm frame has always resembled an ox; tall and strong with the heart to play to the end of every point. His role amongst the dynamic Russian lineup is never to be underestimated. The defending World League champions pick up countless points through his pin point serving and his commitment to blocking.
He's poised to remain a key player in the well balanced Russian squad, where big names of the past combine with young talents in great harmony, that will once again strive to collect another World League title in 2003.