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FIVB Volleyball Women's Club World Championship yet to see repeat winners

VafikBank Istanbul won last year's edition of the FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship

Lausanne, Switzerland, April 29, 2014 - It does not get any more exciting. The FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship has been staged seven times so far and has produced seven different winners.

In stark contrast to the men’s game, where Italian teams held a monopoly on the title of top club team in the world until the recent triumph of Brazilian outfit Sada Cruzeiro, variety is the spice of life in the women’s game.

The seven winners have come from four different countries. But will the trend continue at this year’s tournament, which takes place from May 7 to 11 in Zurich? European club champions Dinamo Kazan and global star Ekaterina Gamova could add another chapter to this remarkable story - a Russian club has never won the showdown between the best teams in the world.

A glance at the history of this prestigious event shows that the teams from Olympic champions Brazil could be the ladies to beat. So far, at least one team from the South American nation has always finished on the podium.

The competition’s debut in 1991 was dominated by ‘samba volleyball’: hosts Sadia E. C. São Paulo came through to defeat their compatriots from Colgate São Caetano in the final. Mladost Zagreb finished third that year and remains the only team from Croatia ever to have finished in the top three.

Europe took immediate revenge in Jesi in 1992: Olimpia Teodora Ravenna triumphed ahead of Brazilian team L'acqua di Fiori Minas and Uralochka Ekaterinburg. The second year of the event was memorable for two reasons: Ravenna claimed the only Italian triumph to date in the FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship, while Ekaterinburg became the only club team from Russia to earn a place on the podium – a remarkable fact, given the huge popularity of volleyball in Russia.

After a year’s break, the duel between Brazil and Italy entered its next round in 1994. This time the South Americans came out on top again in São Paulo, with Leite Moça Sorocaba defeating the Europeans of Parmalat Matera.

It was 16 years before the next women’s club world champion was crowned. When the new era began in 2010, there had been a significant shift in power. Fenerbahce Istanbul, boasting a host of top international stars like MVP Katarzyna Skowronska and Liubov Sokolova, claimed the first title for Turkey. Success came courtesy of a 3:0 victory over Sollys Osasco from Brazil – a win ironically made possible by two Brazilians. Setter Fofao controlled the game magnificently, whilst legendary coach Ze Roberto managed matters from the bench.

"It was not an easy game for me because we were playing a Brazilian side and I had been coaching some of these girls just one month before then, when we played at the World Championships in Japan. But this is part of my job and I still have to learn more and more in terms of emotions and human relations,” said a pensive Ze Roberto after the success.

It was a completely different story again one year later in Doha: a total of 70 points from MVP Natasa Osmokrovic in the tournament helped Rabita Baku become the first team from Azerbaijan ever to secure the title. They defeated VakifBank Istanbul 3-0 in the final and Baku’s captain Natalya Mammadova was “happy that we have won this prestigious championship.”

2012 presented Rabita Baku with the opportunity to defend their title, but this time it was the turn of the Brazilians to strike back. Baku’s dream came to an end with a 3-0 defeat in the final against Sollys Nestle, who had been the dominant team throughout the entire tournament. The trio of Sheilla Castro, Thaisa Menezes and Jaqueline Carvalho, all members of the Brazilian squad that won the gold medal in the Olympic Games, topped the scoring for Sollys Nestle with 15, 14 and 12 points respectively. Sheilla Castro was named MVP.

The most recent edition of the FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship produced yet another story. Guangdong Evergrande finished third to become the first Chinese team ever to stand on the podium. VakifBank Istanbul won the final 3-0 against the Brazilians of Unilever Volei, who featured Olympic champions coach Bernardo Rezende and Fofao among their ranks, to claim a second title for Turkey.

It goes without saying that Istanbul had some international assistance en route to the title: MVP Jovana Brakocevic from Serbia was the outstanding player with 23 points to her name in the final, whilst Christiane Fürst and Carolina Costagrande also impressed. “We wrote a new chapter in the history of this prestigious competition,” commented Istanbul’s Italian coach Giovanni Guidetti. The next thrilling episode of this epic story will be written next week in Zurich.

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