The local public on the stands of Yantarny sports hall
Kaliningrad, Russia, June 15, 2016 – Russia is set for the start of FIVB Volleyball World League 2016 as they prepare to welcome Bulgaria, Poland and Serbia to Kaliningrad for Pool C1.
Poland may be the reigning world champions but they have had mixed fortunes since that triumphant night in Katowice two years ago. They lost their 2015 CEV European Championship quarterfinal to underdogs Slovenia and failed to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at both the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Cup and at the European Qualification Tournament in Berlin.
They have since successfully qualified through the World Olympic Qualification Tournament but with little time to rest and prepare for the World League it is expected to be a tough tournament.
However Stephane Antiga’s side can play with little pressure with the knowledge they are guaranteed a ticket to the Group 1 Finals as hosts.
Bulgaria and Serbia will not participate in the Olympic Games, with both teams fully focused on the World League and building a new generation of volleyball players.
Russia totally collapsed in the 2015 World League, winning only one game from 12 during the Intercontinental Round. Former coach Andrey Voronkov was the main casualty as Vladimir Alekno, who led Russia to gold at the London 2012 Olympics, was drafted in as coach once again.
Russia have just completed their preparations for the World League in Anapa – the traditional summer camp for all national teams.
With four of the most successful volleyball countries on the planet convening in Kaliningrad this weekend, fans have the right to expect a fascinating weekend.