Author: Yavor Dimitrov

Talents: Stephen Maar

The stellar debut of the Canadian Stephen Maar in the Italian SuperLega UnipolSai did not go unnoticed. In fact, the 22-year-old enjoyed a fantastic 2016 – surely the best one in his career so far. The offer to play in Padova and to become a full-time professional was just the tip of the iceberg for Stephen Maar. Although Maar and his teammates at McMaster University, nicknamed Marauders, lost the CIS Championship final, the Canadian college league, against the Trinity Western Spartans (participant at the 2011 FIVB Club World Championship), the outside attacker was the Marauders’ top scorer and grabbed...

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Beach season awards – a deja vu for Bruno

Newly crowned Olympic champion, Bruno Oscar Schmidt was elected as the Most Outstanding Player of the 2016 international beach volleyball season. The Brazilian takes the honour for a second time in a row, completing another splendid campaign. In a season that started unusually early at the end of 2015, Bruno and his teammate Alison did not compete on the international stage too much and focused all of their efforts into performing well at home in Rio de Janeiro during the 2016 Olympics. It paid off in the end, as it turned out. Alison-Bruno won the most important events in...

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Talents: Ilyas Kurkaev

To say that Ilyas Kurkaev is a newly discovered talent would be incorrect. The 22-year-old middle blocker has been a regular starter in the Russian Superleague for the past two seasons and is touted as one of the country’s most promising players. It is not difficult to find tall volleyball players in Russia but it takes athleticism, perseverance, and a range of skills to make them national team candidates. This is the reason why few succeed. Ilyas Kurkaev is, however, someone who doesn’t have such problems. Already standing out as part of Lokomotiv Novosibirsk’s junior formation, Kurkaev waited patiently...

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Talents: Bruno Lima

The World League is often a place where talented youngsters lead a maiden battle as part of their national teams. The 2016 edition was no exception and saw a 20-year-old Argentinian boy find his spot in the international elite. The legendary Julio Velasco, undoubtedly one of the game’s greatest and an Argentinian himself, took control of his country’s senior national team in 2014 with the intention to reinforce the team’s once glorious days. The unsatisfactory 11th place at the World Championship in Poland in the same year he was appointed to his new position meant that the Argentinian volleyball was in...

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Talents: Oleh Plotnytskyi

Ukraine may not be directly associated with the best volleyball teams in the world, or even in Europe for that matter, but a closer and more detailed look at their volleyball school will result in a handful of names worth mentioning. The latest addition to that collection is a very talented outside attacker who has achieved great results both outdoors on the beach and indoors – Oleh Plotnytskyi. Little did the teams drawn in Pool I at the CEV 2016 U20 European Championship in Bulgaria know that the second semifinal berth, next to the pre-tournament’s favourites and eventual winners...

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