Russia’s men’s sitting volleyball team survived an epic final for a successful tournament for the nation, as the 2019 European Championships came to an end on Saturday in Budapest, Hungary.
The men’s gold medal match saw Russia cancel three match points of Bosnia and Herzegovina to win 3-2 (26-24, 23-25, 23-25, 25-22, 17-15), as well as a ticket to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
Sitting volleyball powerhouse Bosnia and Herzegovina – who had secured 10 continental titles between 1991 to 2015 –already qualified to Tokyo 2020 after silver from the 2018 World Championships.
Viktor Milenin had a match high for Russia, masterminding the comeback in the tie-break from 12-14 down and earning him the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award.
Germany returned to the podium for the first time since silver in 2015, after beating Ukraine 3-0 (25-20, 25-18, 25-22) in the bronze medal match.
Russian women cruise
Russia won back-to-back women’s titles when they shut out Italy 3-0 (25-12, 25-16, 25-22).
The squad completed their campaign undefeated, not dropping a single set in their seven matches, and became only the second team in after the Netherlands to claim consecutive titles at a Europeans.
Led by tournament MVP Iuliia Mednikova, Russia overwhelmed Italy in the first two sets and then came from behind in the third to complete the sweep.
But the silver was a historic achievement for Italy, marking their first podium appearance at a Europeans – and a spot at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
Ukraine outlasted Germany in the tie break for a 3-2 (25-22, 19-25, 25-23, 21-25, 15-10) win that secured their seventh straight podium finish since their first appearance in 2007.
Complete results from the 2019 Sitting Volleyball European Championships are available on Budapest 2019’s website.