Budapest, Hungary, 19 July 2019 – Russia will be defending their continental title against nine-time European champions Bosnia & Herzegovina here Saturday, after both scored very convincing wins in Friday’s semifinals at the 2019 Sitting Volleyball European Championships.
But just as importantly, Russia will be representing Europe at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games next year, after becoming the top team not yet qualified. They will be joining Bosnia & Herzegovina who had already claimed their own berth in Tokyo since last year.
Russia never left any doubt who was the boss in their semifinal against Germany, who just couldn’t find solutions to Viktor Milenin and captain Aleksandr Savichev – Dominik Albrecht’s match joint match high of 14 points on par with Milenin not enough to worry the Russians. The final score of 3-0 (25-21, 25-18, 25-16) is quite indicative of how Russia built up a lead in each of the three sets and held on to it until the end.
In the next court, at the same time, Bosnia & Herzegovina were dealing with 2017 silver medallists Ukraine in a similar fashion. Mirzet Duran was the driving force behind Bosnia & Herzegovina’s win with 15 points, as his side built up leads in all three sets and left Ukraine trying in vain to catch up. An impenetrable block mostly by Sabahudin Delalic and sub Edin Djino who registered three stuffs each from a team total of 12 was decisive.
Denys Bytchenko’s match high of 16 points for Ukraine proved too little to make a difference. Both Germany and Ukraine will now have to bounce back from today’s defeats if they’re to make the podium. In the other crucial game of the day, Turkey secured their ticket to Division A of the 2021 European Championships after their win over Lithuania 3-1 (25-15, 22-25, 25-21, 25-23) that sealed 9th place in the standings of the 2019 Sitting Volleyball Men’s European Championships. Mehmet Yilmaz pulled off an amazing performance and scored 31 points – 28 of those from kills off his 62 swings (45%) – to lead Turkey to the important win.