Turkish VNL champions celebrated back home in Istanbul

by Press
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The winner of the VNL 2023, Turkiye, was welcomed back in their country after their historic victory.

The Türkiye Women’s National Volleyball Team returned to a triumphant reception at the Istanbul airport after securing victory in the 2023 FIVB Volleyball Nations League. Their stunning performance not only earned them the championship title but also propelled them to the top spot in the world rankings for the first time in the team’s history.

Upon their arrival at the airport, the team was met with an enthusiastic crowd of media representatives eager to capture the historic moment. In celebration of their outstanding success, a special Water Salute was organized to welcome the returning champions.

The players, coaches, and staff were visibly delighted and proud of their achievement and they graciously interacted with the media, expressing their gratitude and excitement.

The 2023 FIVB Volleyball Nations League proved to be a defining moment for the Turkish team, who displayed exceptional skill, teamwork, and determination throughout the tournament. Their hard-fought victories and great performances against strong opponents earned them a well-deserved place in volleyball history.

One of the team’s standouts during the VNL Finals, outside hitter Ebrar Karakurt thanked the fans for their support and remarked on the importance of the result, which took Türkiye to first place in the FIVB Women’s Volleyball World Ranking.

“We’re very happy to bring to our country one of the most important gold medals in international volleyball,” she said. “I’m very proud of what we did as a team, we showed the strength of Turkish women. Türkiye are now in first place when it comes to volleyball and that’s very important for us. The fans are the driving force behind us and I hope this is just the beginning of our story. Together, we can write even better ones.”

The President of the Turkish Volleyball Federation, Mehmet Akif Ustundag, praised the team’s exceptional achievement, highlighting their dedication and continuous efforts to reach the pinnacle of world volleyball and also emphasized the positive impact of this success on the development and popularity of volleyball in Türkiye.

The team, led by Italian coach Daniele Santarelli, showcased exceptional performance throughout the tournament. Additionally, the Turkish team’s Cuban-Turkish opposite hitter Melissa Vargas played a crucial role in their success and helped secure the gold medal in her debut appearance. Vargas’ outstanding performance earned her the Most Valuable Player (MVP) title for the tournament.

After some days of rest, head coach Daniele Santarelli will gather the players again as they start their preparations for the European Championship, which will take place in Belgium, Estonia, Germany, and Italy from August 17 to September 3. The main tournament of the season for the Turkish, however, will be the FIVB Road to Paris Olympic volleyball qualifier, which will be played from September 16-24. The Europeans are in Pool B, which is based in Japan, and will face the host country, Brazil, Belgium, Bulgaria, Puerto Rico, Argentina, and Peru for a spot in the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Eda Erdem

Captain and middle blocker Eda Erdem, who’s been with the national team since 2005, reminded the dramatic Turkish elimination to Korea in the quarterfinals of the Tokyo Olympics, in 2021, and promised that after the first big success at the international level, the team will go for more.

“Two years ago, we were here in this same room after the match against Korea and we were very sad,” she commented. “We didn’t forget those feelings and now we’re very happy and proud. This is a historic success for Turkish volleyball, but it’s not our peak, in fact, it’s just the beginning. Our goal now is to reach the top at the Olympics.”

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