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11/05/2018 23:00
Star players take centre stage at Champions League Finals
2018 CEV Volleyball Champions League - Men & Women

Kazan, Russia, May 11, 2018. It is the wish of the CEV leadership to make sure that players take centre stage – and following the establishment of the CEV Athletes’ Working Group last year, a number of former Volleyball stars attended the women’s Champions League Finals in Bucharest last week as event ambassadors. Irina Kirillova, Angelina Hübner-Grün and Antonina Zetova were guests of honours at the event in the Romanian capital – with Lyubomir Ganev and Goran Vujevic set to play this very same role at the men’s Final in Kazan this weekend.

The former Volleyball stars spent their time taking photos with the fans, as well as giving interviews to the media – before joining the medal ceremony to award some of the top players emerging from the matches held at Sala Polivalenta. CEV President Aleksandar Boričić emphasised the importance of involving (former) star players in the CEV’s activities and events to inspire the youngsters and shed the light on those who have delivered the show on and off the court as well.

Kirillova is a 1988 Olympic champion and 1990 world champion for the Soviet Union, a European champion in 1989 and 1991, who later in her career moved to Croatia, winning silver at the 1995 and 1997 editions of the European Championship. Additionally, Kirillova is a Volleyball Hall of Fame inductee, class of 2017, together with Anders Kristiansson – Swedish Coach, Ronald Zwerver – Netherlands Indoor Player, Jose Loiola – Brazilian Beach Volleyball Player and Wei Jizhong, former FIVB President and FIVB Honorary President.

Angelina Grün, now married to fellow Volleyball player Stefan Hübner, is a two-time medallist from the European Championship with Team Germany (bronze in 2003 and silver in 2011), a two-time Olympian (2000, 2004), a two-time winner of the CEV Volleyball Champions League in 2005 and 2007 plus MVP from the 2007 CL Finals. She was German Volleyball Player of the Year for nine years in a row from 2000 to 2008 and is a two-time winner of the CEV Cup (2002, 2004) as well.

Bulgaria’s Antonina Zetova spent most of her career in Italy, winning the 2006 edition of the CEV Champions League, the CEV Cup in 2002 and 2007 and the Top Teams Cup in 2005.

Ganev, who is also a member of the CEV Athletes’ Working Group, and Vujevic, an Olympic gold medal winner with Yugoslavia back in 2000, will be playing a similar role in Kazan. The CEV will be hosting in Kazan Joop Alberda, the charismatic coach of the Dutch national team that won a truly historic gold medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

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