28 March 2008

Women Volleyball

Volleyball is the national sport of Russia, just as how baseball is to Japan, American football to the United States, and badminton to Malaysia.

Volleyball is an indoor sport where the game is played on a court, separated by a high net, and 2 opposing teams face off with 6 players on each side. Each team is required to send the ball over to the opponent's side, and score (within a certain set of rules) by volleying the ball over back and forth, hence the name volleyball.

A standard volleyball court.

In Russia, the women's national team is particularly of interest as it ranks higher than its male counterpart. It is also one of the top teams in the world.

In the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Olympics, the women's national team bagged the silver, while in the 2006 Japan World Championships, it claimed the gold.

At university level, superleagues are held among competing teams from states far and wide. Competition is intense, standards are set very highly. Winning teams usually get the priviledge for a shot at the national selection.

My university played host to this tournament recently, and I was fortunate enough to bear witness to one of its matches. A team from Tambov faced another from Smolensk in this game. Both teams came from the regions of south western Russia.

The team from Tambov poised for the match.

Both teams were highly seeded. Action began immediately as soon as the round commenced.

The spike and the block. The Tambov team executing a block.

The match was filled with fierce attacking, firm defensing, tactical deceptions and valiant saves. Rallies were long, thrilling and suspenseful. Both teams were aggressive, gritty and enduring.

Dive! And the point was saved.

At the end of the game, the girls from Tambov emerged victorious. The competition was exhausting but spirits were high.

Everybody needs good sportsmanship.

When the sports hall finally cleared, we resumed our training. A good few Russian players from the university team joined us for the practice.

Height is an clearly an advantage, as most Russian volleyball players stand above the 6 feet mark, even for their women's team.

A Russian girl in red beside one of my teammates, blue 11.

Unless Malaysians breed super tall citizens, there is no hope of us ever facing the Russians at the finals.


zy said...

lower them nets! zy

praveenboss said...

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