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25/10/2019 20:40
Top achievements honoured at European Volleyball Gala
European Volleyball Gala 2019

Sofia, Bulgaria, October 25, 2019. In the traditional culmination of the European Volleyball Gala, CEV’s annual awards were presented in recognition of some of Volleyball and Beach Volleyball’s most sparkling achievements not only over the past 12 months, but also further back in time. In a glamorous ceremony held at the Marinela hotel in Sofia on Friday evening, the high honours went to the following recipients:

Lifetime Achievement Award: Neslihan Demir Güler (TUR)

Winner of the 2015 CEV Champions League and two-time club world champion, Neslihan Demir Güler retired at the end of the 2018 season. A EuroVolley silver (2003) and bronze (2011) medallist with Turkey, she was the flag-bearer of her country at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics. She took on the role of EuroVolley 2019 ambassador in Turkey, where she remains one of the most popular athletes across all sports.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Francesca Piccinini (ITA)

The undisputed queen of women’s Volleyball, Francesca Piccinini secured her seventh Champions League title at the 2019 Super Finals in Berlin with Italy’s Igor Gorgonzola NOVARA. A world and European champion, after taking some time off the court and working as a co-commentator at EuroVolley Women for Italy’s national broadcasting company RAI, she announced her retirement from competitive sports in September, after playing for some 25 years at the highest level.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Bas van de Goor (NED)

An Olympic (1996) and European champion (1997), Bas van de Goor is a member of the Dutch golden generation that made history in the 1990s. He is a three-time winner of the European Champions Cup. After retiring from the sport, he set up his own foundation for people suffering of diabetes, overcame cancer and worked as a Tournament Director / Ambassador at a number of major events, including the 2015 Beach Volleyball World Championships and this year’s EuroVolley Men in the Netherlands.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Dimitar Karov (BUL)

A three-time Olympian in 1964, 1968 and 1972, Dimitar Karov helped Bulgaria secure a silver medal at the 1970 World Championship, Bulgaria’s best World Championship result to this date. With his club team CSKA SOFIA, he won the European Champions Cup in 1969. Karov, who used to play as a setter, is one of Bulgaria’s living Volleyball legends. He was a pioneer for Volleyball in Italy as well as in the mid-1970s he helped grow CUS TORINO to a leading international force for years to come.

CEV Event of the Year: EuroVolley 2019

A truly history-making, record-breaking competition, held across as many as eight countries for the first time in history. France, Slovenia, Belgium and the Netherlands played host to the men’s event, while Turkey, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia delivered the women’s tournament. Almost half a million people attended the matches of EuroVolley 2019, with these broadcast in more than 150 countries across the globe. The competition sparked real Volleyball fever across the whole of Europe, with the participation of 24 teams per gender, thus accounting for a total of 28 nations involved.

Beach Volleyball Coach of the Year: Kåre Mol (NOR)

Kåre Mol has been coaching his own son, Anders Mol, and his partner Christian Sørum, both still in their early 20s, making the ‘Beach Volley Vikings’ the most successful Beach Volleyball team in the world. Under his guidance, Mol and Sørum claimed back-to-back European titles in 2018 and 2019, a bronze medal at their maiden World Championship appearance, and gold from as many as ten World Tour stops, and have ‘mathematically’ qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Queens of the Beach: Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka (LAT)

The 2016 U22 European champions sensationally claimed the 2019 women’s EuroBeachVolley gold in Moscow. Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka’s 2019 season includes a ninth place at the World Championship and at the World Tour Finals as well as a historic qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics through the FIVB event held in China in September 2019. They are the first Latvian women’s team due to compete at the Olympics.

Kings of the Beach: Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Oleg Stoyanovskiy (RUS)

In only their first season together, Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Oleg Stoyanovskiy claimed a historic World Championship gold medal for Russia at the event held in Hamburg, thus securing a spot at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics as well. After the 9th position at a home EuroBeachVolley in Moscow, they regrouped to secure gold at the World Tour Finals held in Rome in early September. Krasilnikov and Stoyanovskiy are only the third European team to claim men’s World Championship gold.

Women’s Volleyball Team Coach of the Year: Massimo Barbolini (ITA)

Against all odds, Massimo Barbolini took Igor Gorgonzola NOVARA to their first Champions League title, beating multiple champions VakifBank ISTANBUL in the semifinals and pre-favourites Imoco Volley CONEGLIANO at the Super Finals in Berlin. This accounted for his fourth European club title triumph – three in the Champions League with three different teams – Eczacibasi VitrA ISTANBUL, Pomi CASALMAGGIORE and Igor Gorgonzola – and one in the former European Champions Cup.

Men’s Volleyball Team Coach of the Year: Slobodan Kovač (SRB)

After spending only a few weeks at the helm of the team, Slobodan Kovač helped Serbia claim their third European title to go with those from 2001 and 2011. Kovač started working with Serbia’s national team in mid-August and literally changed the course of the season going undefeated through EuroVolley 2019 to triumph with the continental crown at the end of September in Paris. This past club season, he was at the helm of Russia’s Belogorie BELGOROD seizing the title of the 2019 CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup.

Female Volleyball Player of the Year: Tijana Bošković (SRB)

Tijana Bošković helped Serbia claim their second straight European title to go with the 2018 World Championship gold and the 2016 Olympic silver. She was named MVP of the last three major international competitions, i.e. EuroVolley 2017 and 2019, and the 2018 World Championship. With the national team of Serbia, she also qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after winning the Olympic qualifier in Poland.

Male Volleyball Player of the Year: Uros Kovacevic (SRB)

Uros Kovacevic was named MVP of EuroVolley 2019, where Serbia claimed a sensational gold medal. He was among the top scorers of the event. Kovacevic had a truly fabulous club season, which included gold from the Club World Championship and the CEV Cup with TRENTINO Volley. He and his teammates from the Italian club will play in the 2020 edition of the CEV Champions League Volley.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Dancho Lazarov (BUL)

Dancho Lazarov has been the President of the Bulgarian Volleyball Federation since 2001 and a member of the CEV Board of Administration since 2009. At the helm of Bulgaria’s Volleyball family for almost two decades, Lazarov made sure his country continued to be a force to be reckoned with - on the court, as well as off the court through co-hosting the successful delivery of major events such as EuroVolley 2015 and last year’s World Championship. During his tenure, Bulgaria have organised an impressive number of age-group continental championships, as well as this year’s European Volleyball Gala, and has been chosen among the co-hosts of EuroVolley 2021 Women together with Serbia and Romania and one more country still to be determined.

News nr. 89 of 703
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