Norwegian volleyball in Arkhangelsk: Second Prize from the first attempt.
Volleyball players from Tromso lost only to champion but gained the hearts of local fans.
In the frame of cooperation between sister- cities Tromsø and Arkhangelsk the volleyball team from the volleyball club in Tromsø took part in 10th volleyball tournament named after Yuri Medunitsyn. This tournament is carried out in Arkhangelsk every year at the end of April and is considered to be the most entertaining event in volleyball life of the Arkhangelsk region. This year the Russian sportsmen were looking forward to the tournament not only because it was the jubilee tournament, but also because of the foreign guests’ first time participation.
Norwegian team was presented by 10 players aged from 16 to 27 years, coach Anders Ryssdal and leader Stein Gunnar Bondevik. In quarter-final Norwegian sportsmen met the team of the Northern Arctic Federal University, one of the three best teams in the Arkhangelsk region. However in hard battle Tromsø gained victory by a score of 2:1. And this match was the most interesting and exciting both for the audience and the sportsmen.
In the final the Tromsø team got a very strong competitor, the team “Dinamo”, the champion in the Arkhangelsk region in 2011 and the champion of North-West Russian in 2012. No other volleyball match has ever gathered so many people, who came to support both our local team and the guest-team. Match was extremely exciting in spite of the fact that the sportsmen were exhausted as they have played two matches every day during three on the row. But the most experienced team “Dinamo” gained the victory and the Norwegian team was the second. Two Tromsø players were marked by special awards, Vegard Paulsen as the best defender and Hakon Skipenes Oystrem, crowd puller, as the best multy-sided player. Besides the main tournament’s award, a challenger cup from Medunitsyn family, was awarded to the Tromsø team.
Everyone was leaving the hall with a high feeling. The organisors of the tournament and the Arkhangelsk volleyball community is thankful to the Norwegian sportsmen for their participation and possibility to attract attention to this tournament and sports events in the city.
Norwegian volleyball players also felt good about the participation in the tournament. According to the players they didn’t expect to see such a high level of volleyball in the region which is accorded with the national level of Norway. Sportsmen were also impressed by a very organization of the tournament and warm acceptance by the public, which was friendly to them in every match.
Volleyball players of both countries hope that participation in different tournaments will become a good tradition promoting volleyball in the Barents region.
Text and photos: by Julia Iordanova