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06/05/2012 18:57
8000 cheer as Turkey makes it to the Olympics for first time in history
2012 Olympic Games - European Qualification

Ankara, Turkey, May 6, 2012.  The national women’s team of Turkey is going to London. This is the outcome of the 2012 Olympic Games - European Qualification that came to an end in Ankara today.  With the presidents of the Polish Volleyball Federation Mirosław Przedpełski and of the Turkish Volleyball Federation Erol Ünal Karabıyık on the stands alongside 8000 cheering fans at Baskent volleyball hall, the home team beat Poland 3:0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-19) in the final and claimed the single ticket to the Olympics in the British capital available from this tournament.  This is a historic achievement for the country as this will be the first time Turkey sends a volleyball squad of either gender to the Olympics and only the second time it will participate in the Games in any team sport.
 
Live photo gallery running in real time here
 
The Polish team started the match well and maintained control during most of the first set. Berenika Okuniewska’s spikes gave Turkey a lot of hard time. The home team responded with some great blocking to stay in contention. After 19-21, with 4 consecutive points, Turkey flipped the score to 23-21. Eda Erdem Dündar spiked for Turkey’s 24th point. Then her serve proved too difficult for the opponent and the score was locked at 25-22.
 
The Polish block started working well in the second set as the team of Alojzy Swiderek tried to fight back. But it was only able to stay in contention through 10-10. After that Turkey once again took the initiative and managed to pile up a 5-point lead at 17-12. At the end Erdem Dündar once again helped Turkey close the set as she aced for the last point.
 
Inspired by the enthusiastic and very noisy crowd on the stands, the team of Marco Aurelio Motta cruised through the third set to claim the victory. Neslihan Darnel was all over the court scoring point after point in offense, blocking and serving, while setter Naz Aydemir was doing an excellent job as a play-maker. This time Turkey was able to hammer out an even more impressive advantage to close the set at 25-19 and let the celebrations begin.
 
Darnel became the best scorer of the match with 14 points for the winners, as teammate Gözde Sonsırma Kırdar contributed another 10.  Ten points were also on the tally of Poland’s most prolific player in the final – Berenika Okuniewska.
 
”I congratulate the team of Turkey as they are the first Turkish volleyball team in history to qualify for the Olympic Games,” Polish head coach Alojzy Swiderek said after the final match. "My team could not overcome the stress and could not play well.”  Marco Aurelio Motta, head coach of Turkey wanted to thank everybody – the press, the clubs, the federation, the fans.  ”This success did not come so easily.  Every member of the team, the federation, as well as the spectators and the clubs have contributed to this great victory,” he said as he was struggling to hold back his tears. ’This victory came step by step. We have had our dreams come true by qualifying for the Olympics for the first time. And I would especially like to dedicate this victory to my staff as we have worked with all of them in a lot of tournaments without demanding any money and with a great deal of self-sacrifice. They never complained about anything.”
 
”We are so happy. Being in the Olympic Games is the dream of every athlete,” Turkish star Neslihan Darnel stated emotionally. ”I would like to thank to everybody, especially the spectators who have never given up supporting us throughout the tournament. As for the match, of course, we were on the court to win.  However, I have to confess that I did not expect such a straight victory.  The team of Poland is a well-organized and strong team, but we played well.”

News nr. 953 of 1260
08/05/2012 16:36:41
Germany proves too strong for Slovakia in first match Olympic qualifier
05/05/2012 19:16:13
Turkey vs. Poland is the big final in Ankara!
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