Egor Kliuka celebrates Olympic ticket to Tokyo 2020
Saint Petersburg, Russia, June 30, 2020 – Next season’s squad of Zenit Saint Petersburg keeps getting stronger and stronger. After securing the services of top-level international players, such as Russian opposite Victor Poletaev and French setter Antoine Brizard, the fifth-placed team of the 2019-2020 Superliga season officially confirmed their contract with one more key member of the Russian national team, Egor Kliuka.
The 2.09cm-tall outside hitter moves to Zenit after he spent the past six seasons defending the colours of Fakel Novy Urengoy and earning 2018 FIVB Volleyball Club World Championship bronze.
Kliuka turned only 25 years of age earlier this month, but has already earned a number of top honours wearing the national team jersey. He was the eighth best scorer and fifth best spiker of the 2016 Olympic tournament in Rio and won two gold medals in the FIVB Volleyball Nations League, becoming the best server of the finals on both occasions. In the 2019 edition of the VNL, Kliuka got named on the Dream Team.
Kliuka is champion, MVP and Dream Teamer of the 2015 FIVB U23 Volleyball World Championship, as well as gold medallist of the 2017 CEV European Championship. In 2019, he also helped Russia win the Saint Petersburg intercontinental Olympic qualification tournament and book a ticket to Tokyo 2020.
In another recent move, Zenit Saint Petersburg signed 19-year-old outside Omar Kurbanov, coming in from Grozny. The 1.95m-tall youth international is a silver medallist and Dream Teamer of the 2019 FIVB U19 Volleyball World Championship.
Zenit have also announced the departure of 37-year-old team captain Andrey Ashchev. The 2.02m-tall middle blocker is a former Russian international, a 2016 Olympian, winner of the 2017 FIVB Volleyball World League, silver medallist of the 2013 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup and two-time European champion. He also won silver at the 2016 FIVB Club World Championship with Zenit Kazan.
Other recent market news from the men’s Russian Superliga:
• Dinamo Moscow announced the departure of 2.07m-tall former international middle blocker Alexey Ostapenko (34). With the national team, Ostapenko won bronze at the 2008 Olympics, silver at the 2007 FIVB Volleyball World Cup, silver (2007) and bronze (2008) in the FIVB Volleyball World League, and silver at EuroVolley 2007. He also became junior world champ, topping the charts for best blocker and best server of the 2005 FIVB U21 World Championship.
• Former junior international, 1.98m-tall outside Alexander Boldyrev (30), bronze medallist of the 2008 CEV Junior European Championship, has moved from Gazprom-Ugra Surgut to Fakel Novy Urengoy.
• Gazprom-Ugra Surgut presented three former Russian junior internationals as new additions to their roster. 2.00m-tall outside Ivan Nikishin (29), 2010 CEV Junior European Champion and semifinallist of the 2009 FIVB Youth World Championship, comes from Ugra-Samotlor Nizhnevartovsk. 2.04m-tall middle blocker Egor Iakutin (23), semifinalist of the 2015 FIVB U19 World Championship, and 2.00m-tall setter Pavel Akhaminov (23), bronze medallist of the 2016 CEV U20 European Championship, both arrive from Lokomotiv-Izumrud Ekaterinburg.
• One of Ukrainian national team’s top players, 2.01m-tall opposite Dmytro Viietskyi (22), silver medallist of the 2015 CEV U20 European Championship, transferred to ASK Nizhny Novgorod from Qatar’s Police Doha. Viietskyi is also a former Ukrainian beach international. He took silver at the 2015 CEV U18 Beach Volleyball European Championship and finished fifth at the 2016 FIVB U19 Beach Volleyball World Championship.
• Dinamo-LO Leningrad Oblast extended the contract of their best scorer for the last two seasons, 2.00m-tall opposite Andrey Kolesnik (29), 2011 FIVB Junior World Championship gold medallist and 2010 junior European champion.
• Ural Ufa announced a number of key departures from the club, including those of 1.97m-tall playmaker Nikola Jovovic (28), 2016 FIVB World League winner, 2009 youth world champion and reigning European champion with Serbia; 1.96m-tall outside Alexey Spiridonov (32), two-time World League gold medallist (2011, 2013), 2013 FIVB World Grand Champions Cup silver medallist, 2015 FIVB Club World Championship runner-up (with Zenit Kazan) and 2013 European champion; 2.06m-tall opposite Nikita Alekseev (27), former Russian international and 2010 junior European champion, and 1.94m-tall setter Vladislav Zhloba (38), former beach volleyball international.
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