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08/04/2015 16:41
Zenit KAZAN honoured by President of Tatarstan following Champions League victory
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Kazan, Russia, April 8, 2015. The players, coaching staff and management of Zenit KAZAN attended a special ceremony hosted by the President of the Republic of Tatarstan, Mr Rustam Minnikhanov, following their victory at this year’s CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League Finals in Berlin. This was Zenit’s third title in Europe’s elite competition after the Tatars had topped the charts in 2008 and 2012.

“We have a tradition to meet here at the Kremlin to celebrate major wins and we are happy that you are our frequent guests,” Mr Minnikhanov said. “Your victory is not only important for the city and for Tatarstan, but also for the whole country. We followed you closely and were happy with you after you edged teams from Germany and Poland at the end of a close and intense battle. I would like to thank all players and members of the coaching staff and also Gazprom whose CEO Alexey Miller always sets the highest goals for Zenit. Our team is currently the best in Europe and this does not happen by accident. We indeed have excellent players, fans and a professional management. We already look forward to the next victories. The attitude, the skills and the perseverance needed to achieve them are all there.”

Coach Vladimir Alekno and team captain Nikolay Apalikov presented Mr Minnikhanov with a gold medal from their Champions League win in Berlin as well as with a green-yellow Mikasa MVA200CEV volleyball signed by all players of Zenit.

“At some point the Republic of Tatarstan decided that the development of sport would be one of the main assets by which Kazan and Tatarstan would become known in Europe,” coach Alekno said. “And right now the name of Kazan is well-known everywhere and can’t be confused with any other. I am very grateful to the leadership of our Republic as well as to the management of our club who set high goals for us and provide us with the perfect conditions to achieve them.”

The President of the Zenit Volleyball club, Rafkat Kantyukov, read out a congratulations letter sent by Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller and said: “I am grateful to the leadership of our country and because of their support and help Volleyball has made it to the highest level here in Tatarstan. We have created a real Volleyball centre and players are being paid timely and all clauses of their contracts are respected. We are just about to enter the final stage of the Russian Superleague and once that competition comes to a close, I hope we can come back here to celebrate one more victory.”

After winning their third title in the CEV Volleyball Champions League and qualifying for the 2015 FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship coming up later this year in Brazil, Zenit KAZAN will try to retain their title in the Russian Superleague playing arch-rivals Belogorie BELGOROD. The first and second matches are set for April 22 and 23 in Belgorod, with the Championship series then continuing in Kazan on April 27.

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