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


Brunei to Send Its First Female Athlete to the Olympics

HONG KONG — The International Olympic Committee banned South Africa from the Olympics for nearly 30 years, until 1992, because of the repugnant official policy of apartheid that kept black athletes from competing. Nevertheless, the I.O.C. has continued to allow three nations that discriminate against female athletes to continue to participate in the Games.
“We’re pressing them” has long been the I.O.C.’s answer to criticisms about the so-called gender apartheid that bars women and girls from participating in the Olympics, not to mention competitive sports, recreational activities, even physical education classes.
Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the Southeast Asian nation of Brunei have never sent a female athlete to an Olympics, although they have all sent male athletes. That situation appears likely to change this year at the Summer Olympics in London.
A senior Olympic official from Brunei told Rendezvous on Wednesday that the country has formally submitted to the I.O.C. its list of eligible athletes for the London Games — including, for the first time ever, at least one woman, Maziah Mahusin, a hurdler and 400-meter runner.
Ms. Mahusin, who turned 19 last Sunday, trains and competes without a head scarf. She is still developing as an athlete and would be no threat to win a medal in London. She finished last in her qualifying heat in the 400 at the recent World Indoor Championships in Istanbul.
But the Brunei official said she would compete in London under the I.O.C’s concept of universality — the inclusion of certain competitors even if they do not meet international standards.
The official spoke privately about Ms. Mahusin’s nomination, pending an official announcement by his Olympic committee, which is set for Thursday.
Ms. Mahusin won an Olympic scholarship that pays for living and training expenses leading up to the Games, and she is planning to move to London soon for four months of preparation. The Games begin July 27.
In December, after winning the scholarship, she said in a story in the Brunei Times, “I am excited and nervous because there will be new coaches to work with, and the training regime will be highly intensive compared to Brunei, conducted by high-level athletic coaches.”
Brunei, on the northern coast of the island of Borneo, is a predominantly Muslim sultanate that is rich in oil and gas. With a population of just over 400,000, Brunei has a per capita G.D.P. that is the fifth-highest in the world, according to the most recent Forbes ranking, with an average of more than $48,000 per person.
“The fact that women and girls cannot train to compete clearly violates the Olympic Charter’s pledge to equality and gives the Olympic movement itself a black eye,” said Christoph Wilcke, senior Middle East researcher at Human Rights Watch.
As Jeré and Mary write about Saudi Arabia, Brunei and Qatar:
Saudi Arabia, a monarchy whose legal system is based on Islamic law, is considered the most significant of the three, given its size, international oil influence and severe restrictions placed on women in daily life. While female athletes from Qatar and Brunei have participated in national and regional competitions, Saudi Arabia has essentially barred sports for women, according to Human Rights Watch.
A pan-Arab newspaper based in London, Al Hayat, reported Tuesday that the Saudi Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz has approved the participation of female athletes in London as long as their sports “meet the standards of women’s decency and don’t contradict Islamic laws.”
The International Olympic Committee said in a statement that it met with Saudi Olympic officials last week and that it was “confident that Saudi Arabia is working to include women athletes and officials at the Olympic Games in London.”