Are we going to see more young players as Russia prepares for the 2020 Olympics?
The last time that the women’s team won a major tourney was 3 years ago when Koshelava and her squad won the 2015 European Championship. Since that year, Russia has struggled to medal in any continental or international tournament. Russia finished a disappointing 5th place at the 2016 Olympics after Serbia destroyed them in the quarterfinal match (9-25, 22-25, 21-25). The team finished 4th at the 20116 Grand Prix and 9th the following year. Despite being one of the favorites to win the 2017 European Champs, Russia tanked at the tourney and concluded their journey by finishing 6th. At the 2017 Grand Champions Cup, the team landed in 4th place.
Due to these poor results, the Russian Federation fired coach Yuri Marichev and eventually let go of his successor, Vladimir Kuzitkin.
Fast forward to today, Russia has a new coach and he is Vadim Pankov.
In an article released by cev.lu, Coach Pankov says:
“We will have three months to prepare for the World Championship, and we will work hard to eliminate all the weaknesses. A lot will depend on the health and fatigue of certain players. Now our task is to monitor the players performing in the national championship. Before the first training camp, we will discuss and determine who will play. We will have matches for five weeks in the summer and, of course, we will try different team compositions. At the same time, we will definitely try to reach the final stage of the FIVB Nations League.”
The 53 year old also added that reaching the Final 4 at the 2018 World Championship is like a “dream come true”.