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26/03/2014 22:00
Golden t-shirts worn by Belogorie were produced well ahead of Final Four...
2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League - Men

Belgorod, Russia, March 26, 2014. On Sunday the players of Belogorie BELGOROD wore some special jerseys to celebrate their victory in the 2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League – Men. These golden t-shirts – displaying the official logo of the competition including the slogan of the “Fair Play Volleyball Way” campaign – were conceived by Alexander Zuychenko and their production had started well before the Final Four weekend in Ankara.

Click here for a comprehensive gallery of the Final Four Tournament in Ankara

Zuychenko had already initiated a similar project last year shortly before the final stage of the Russian Cup that Belogorie eventually claimed thereby starting an impressive winning streak in domestic competitions. However, this time none was aware of these t-shirts and that Zuychenko had brought them to Ankara. Even once the players and the staff of Belogorie made their way to Baskent Volleyball Hall for the final match with hosts Halkbank ANKARA, the extra bags did not spark any suspicion. After winning the final by 3:1, the players captained by Taras Khtey went back to the dressing rooms to get ready for the medal ceremony and they were given the golden t-shirts prepared by Zuychenko. After the team travelled back home and got together for the first training session after the Finals, another set of these special uniforms was presented to the players of Belogorie who had not attended the Final Four Tournament but had also worked hard since the start of the season together with the 12 nominated by coach Shipulin for the last act of the competition.

Questioned if he did not feel the t-shirts were produced a way too early, Zuychenko responds: “No, because I strongly believed in our chances to seize the day in Ankara and could see that our players were extremely motivated to go for gold. So I decided that I wanted to make a surprise to them. Of course we were all nervous before the Final Four weekend but somewhere deep inside we had the feeling that everything would be fine and so it was in the end.”

One of these t-shirts was worn also by the legendary coach of Belogorie, Gennady Shipulin. A few days after the final match, he looks back at his team’s success with much pride: “I am evidently very happy that we won this Final Four Tournament. We have gone a very long way since the beginning of the season and in the end we finished atop the tables. This year is very special for Russia and Russian sports. Everything got started with the Sochi Olympic and Paralympic Games where our athletes performed really strong. We followed in their footsteps to bring more success to our country. I also have to thank the many fans who travelled with our team down to Ankara; people of different age and social status, who all came together in order to support our team on the way to this title. I also would like to thank the organisers of the Final Four Tournament in Ankara who did a great job and put on a great Volleyball party.”

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