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The national volleyball team of Bulgaria(men) have won an Olympic quota and will take part in the Olympic Games this summer.
This was the second, and in fact, the last opportunity for the Bulgarians to join the Olympic family. With the joining of Bulgaria it is already clear which 12 teams are the participants in London. These are: Great Britain, Russia, Poland, Brazil, Tunisia, United States, Italy, Argentina, Serbia, Australia, Bulgaria and Germany.
As expected, the big battle on the field was between the teams of France and Bulgaria, which took place on Saturday evening. The boys from the two teams showed quality volleyball and gave us lots of emotions. To be fair- thanks to a game between France and Bulgaria in 2003 I began watching volleyball, and later playing it. I was 12 years old and what I remember from this game was that the Bulgarians and the French seemed to be playing for something more than just a win. So was the case on Saturday, and the feeling was the same. It was like the teams were not only in a battle for a quota, but also for their country, for their people. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen such a spectacle- each player was like a soldier. French and Bulgarians made it to the edge of their strength.
The game started equally and was going point for point. The Bulgarians won the first set, but then the French made it clear that they’re ready to give everything in order to win. So, they won the second set and brought back the intrigue in the game. In the third set the inheritors of Napoleon led almost all the time, but the Bulgarians woke up and overturned the result in their favor. The fourth set was the most interesting. The Bulgarians needed only a set to open the doors to the Olympic Games, but the French weren’t concordant with it. The young star of the French team- Earvin Ngapeth, and company fought till the last point. On the other hand, the Bulgarians were dead set not to fail again. Tension was incredibly high, but in sport there’s only one winner. The Bulgarians closed the game with 27-25 with a block by Teodor Todorov. Tears and smiles on were seen on the players’ faces. The full Arena Armeets saluted the Bulgarian team, but also showed respect to the French one. While Ngapeth and his teammates were crying, Tsvetan Sokolov, Andrey Zhekov and other Bulgarian players went to them and tried to cheer them up.
The battle was over. Winners tried to help losers and losers wished winners luck in London. That’s what’s most important in games like this. They’re interesting, but they also could help improving the spirit of fair play.
In fact, that’s what sport gives sportsmen and fans- the knowledge that life’s made of ups and downs. Only a month ago, the Bulgarians cried in front of their own public. What they showed by trying to cheer up the Frenchmen, was the believe that you could only learn from a loss, if you’re smart enough.
What shall we say about the other games?
Egypt and Pakistan didn’t cause any surprises. Egypt played well (they won a set against the team of Bulgaria, and a set against the the team of France too). The ‘pharaohs’ won also the game against Pakistan by 3-0.
For Pakistan the stay in Sofia was like a sport holiday. They have won only a set, but- mark that, a set against France! It’s true that this was the day after the french lost against Bulgaria, but that doesn’t make it less admirable.
Although the Bulgarians have won the quota, the drama in the team and the federation is still in progress. Today head coach Radostin Stoychev resigned and big star Matey Kaziyski declared he is leaving.
Expect tomorrow a report for what’s going on in the team. Who will lead the Bulgarians in the World League Tournament in Argentina and are there any options for Stoychev and Kaziyski to return in the team?