Turkey seventh Team to Qualify for London Olympics

World No. 11 Turkey gave their passionate home fans plenty to cheer about as they qualified for the Olympic Games for the first time ever after pulling off an impressive straight sets (25-22, 25-22, 25-19) win over Poland, ranked 14th in the world, in the final of the European Olympic Qualification Tournament held in Ankara, Turkey on Sunday.

The 8,000 cheering fans at Baskent volleyball hall saw their side cap off an impressive week-long campaign, which confirmed Turkey’s first volleyball appearance at the Olympics in either gender and only the second time it will participate in the Games in any team sport.

Turkey joins Italy, United States and China - who qualified to London through the FIVB World Cup last November in Japan - hosts Great Britain, African champions Algeria and NORCECA winners the Dominican Republic who sealed their ticket on Saturday. A total of 12 teams will eventually qualify with the South America qualification tournament (one vacancy) taking place next week followed by a combined Asia and World Olympic Qualification Tournament, which offers one and three more vacancies respectively, later this month.

Olympic Games Women’s Volleyball Qualified Teams
Hosts Great Britain
2011 World Cup winner Italy
2011 World Cup runners up USA
2011 World Cup third place China
Africa winner Algeria
NORCECA winner Dominican Republic
CEV winner Turkey
CSV winner May 8-14
AVC winner May 19-27
World Olympic Qualification Tournament (three vacancies) May 19-27

Marco Aurelio Motta, coach of Turkey wanted to thank everybody – the press, the clubs, the federation, the fans. “This success did not come so easily. Every member of the team, the federation, as well as the spectators and the clubs have contributed to this great victory,” he said as he was struggling to hold back the tears. “This victory came step by step. We have had our dreams come true by qualifying for the Olympics for the first time and I would especially like to dedicate this victory to my staff as we have worked with all of them in a lot of tournaments without demanding any money and with a great deal of self-sacrifice. They never complained about anything.”

“We are so happy. Being in the Olympic Games is the dream of every athlete,” Turkish star Neslihan Darnel said. ”I would like to thank everybody, especially the spectators who have never given up supporting us throughout the tournament. As for the match, of course, we were on the court to win. However, I have to confess that I did not expect such a straight sets victory. Poland are a well-organized and strong team, but we played well.”

”I congratulate the team of Turkey as they are the first Turkish volleyball team in history to qualify for the Olympic Games,” Polish coach Alojzy Swiderek said. "My team could not overcome the stress and could not play well.”

The Polish team started the match well and maintained control during most of the first set. Berenika Okuniewska’s spikes gave Turkey a lot of hard time. The home team responded with some great blocking to stay in contention. At 21-19 down, Turkey flipped the score to 23-21 with four consecutive points. Eda Erdem Dündar spiked for Turkey’s 24th point. Then her serve proved too difficult and the first set was sealed 25-22.

The Polish block started working well in the second set as the team of Swiderek tried to fight back but they were only able to stay in contention until 10-10. After that Turkey once again took the initiative and managed to grab a five-point lead at 17-12. At the end Erdem Dündar once again helped Turkey close the set as she aced for the last point.

Inspired by the enthusiastic home fans, the team of Motta cruised through the third set to claim the victory. Darnel was all over the court scoring point after point in offence, blocking and serving, while setter Naz Aydemir did an excellent job as play-maker. This time Turkey was able to hammer out an even more impressive advantage to close the set at 25-19 and let the celebrations begin.

Darnel top scored in the match with 14 points for the winners, with teammate Gözde Sonsirma Kirdar contributing 10. Ten points were also the tally of Poland’s most prolific player in the final – Berenika Okuniewska.
Source: http://womensportreport.com/women-sport_turkey-seventh-women-8217-s-team-to-qualify-for-london-olympics-volleyball_15033