We’re so sad but she totally has a valid reason not to play.
For one of the world’s most complete players, family time is more important than volleyball. Lioubov Sokolova has decided to skip the 2011 European Championship so she could spend more time with her family and bond more with her son.
At a press conference in RIA Novosti, Sokolova said that she had a conversation with Coach Kuzyutkin earlier this year about her plans to miss the 2011 Grand Prix and the upcoming Euro Champs. She mentioned that her son has reached the age wherein he needs a mother’s support. The other reason Lyuba presented is that she is not in her best form. Even if she is 80% ready to play, she will not represent Russia in such limited physical condition.
The 4 time Olympian mentioned that she still dreams of playing another Olympics and hopefully win the gold to go with the 2 silvers she’s won in 2000 and 2004.
So we have a feeling she will still come back next year.
Let’s face it, Russia without Sokolova is not a strong team. Sokolova has the experience and the skills her team can depend on when they are in crucial situations. At the 2011 Grand Prix, it was only Gamova scoring heavily for her team. Consequently, she ran out of gas and lost her powerful touch during the Final Round and so Russia finished 4th.
The absence of Lyuba and Kosheleva allowed us to see 2 talented players named Makhno and Goncharova.
Anyways, we wish Sokolova the best and that we totally respect her decision.
Family Over Volleyball.
As for the Russian Team, good luck at the Euro Championship and Kosheleva’s return from injury is a +!