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He changed nationality to play in Italy. Russia missed a talented volleyball player

Date: June 17, 2024 Time: 20:07:48

The Russian athlete can get to the European Volleyball Championship, which begins on August 15 in four countries at once: Belgium, Germany, Estonia and Italy. The latter will be represented by Ekaterina Antropova, who received Italian citizenship the day before. But the Russian Volleyball Federation does not consider it a loss.

Already in the Italian team

The volleyball player has officially become Italian. The decision to change citizenship was made at the government level: it was issued by the President of the Italian National Olympic Committee, Giovanni Malago. In addition, the 20-year-old received a new passport for special sports services from the state. “The Council of Ministers, at the suggestion of the Minister of the Interior, Matteo Piantedosi, decided to grant Italian citizenship to Ekaterina Antropova,” the statement said.

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Now the girl can play for a new country. Indeed, at the beginning of this summer, the athlete fought not only with the final exams, but also with the FIVB for the opportunity to play in the League of Nations and, therefore, to debut in the national team. There was a possibility that she could do it in the last week, from June 25 to July 2 in Thailand. At least Ekaterina declared herself in the composition of 30 players. Diagonal she was seen as the replacement for Paola Egon, who has repeatedly said that she will not return to the Italian team ahead of the Euro Cup in August. Apparently, even then, the volleyball player was approved for citizenship, but the document itself, for which she fought for several years, had not yet been issued. Therefore, Antropov did not appear on the site.

From Russia to Italy

Antropova was born in Iceland. Her father played there, basketball center “Tindastall” Mikhail. Then the family returned to St. Petersburg, where the girl was sent to the gymnastics section. After talking with her mother, a sports teacher in handball Olga, Katya decided to go to volleyball. At the age of 15, the girl moved from St. Petersburg to Italy. According to Sportmediaset, the former coach of the Russian national team Giovanni Caprara, a family friend, helped in the transition. He recommended Ekaterina to the president of the Sassuolo academy, Carmelo Borruto. The stuntman at some point also worked in Russia and was part of Caprara’s headquarters at the victorious 2006 World Cup.

Ekaterina Antropova in Italy

Photo: Lisa Guglielmi/Getty Images

“I met Kate’s mom and stepdad in 2017, they trusted me and we got to work right away. The law firm helped us with the paperwork, which took a year and a half to complete,” Borruto said. “Having received an Italian sports passport, Kate, in accordance with federal regulations, had to play in regional championships for two years.”

Already in the 2020/2021 season, the diagonal became the top scorer in the Italian A2 series, accumulating 790 points in 33 games, and passed Scandicci in the preseason.

Fought for citizenship with the FIVB

In the elite of the Italian league, Antropova made her debut as an outside player. Already in the first game with Casalmaggiore she showed 45% of the reception. But her game as a diagonal in the match with Bergamo turned out to be even brighter: 58% of the implementation of attacks. The club decided to play the girl in the European competition.

Then the problems started. Applying to the European Volleyball Confederation for the Challenge Cup as part of the new club, it became known that Antropova was once part of the expanded Russian youth team for the European Under-16 Championship in 2017. She was even enrolled in a school. junior, which means she was registered as a volleyball player in Russia. And, therefore, she in Italy she should be considered a legionnaire, despite the fact that she obtained the first license from her as a professional player in the Apennines. The World Volleyball Federation began to investigate the case and the athlete was suspended from the game until a decision is made.

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Later, the organization decided: Antropova will perform for Russia. The decision was not affected by a letter from VFV bosses confirming that Antropova was never registered as a player in that country, nor by the argument that youth schools do not license 15-year-old players.

“Obviously, there was some kind of mistake,” Scandicci CEO Sandra Leonchini said in an interview with Volleyball.it at the time. “And we are not the ones who made a mistake. We will present an appeal and defend our interests in the appropriate instances. Our duty now is to support the athlete to enter the site as soon as possible. It is clear that Antropova had an additional advantage as an Italian, but her value to us is undeniable. If necessary, we will adapt.”

So, the club’s management decided to prove the error already in the Lausanne Court of Arbitration (CAS), filed an appeal. And she won the case. Also, Antropova never made a secret of the fact that she wanted to play for Italy. “Generally I feel Russian, since I have been living in Russia for 15 years. However, on a sporting level, I consider myself Italian because I acquired most of my volleyball skills in Italy. I think it’s fair for all the people who helped me grow as a player. Therefore, in the future I would very much like to play for the Italian national team, ”said the girl in an interview with the Italian edition of VolleyNews.

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Representatives of the Russian Volleyball Federation also did not interfere in this matter. “Catherine’s decision is quite logical. It did not become a loss for us, because there was no acquisition as such. In fact, she started playing volleyball in Italy. Her decision to accept our sports citizenship also surprised us. She only trained once with us on the youth team. Taking all this into account, and also that her family did not feel like it and did not even consider the option with Russia, I repeat, there is no surprise. In general, nothing unexpected, this is her way. Now a legal decision has just been made, her documents have been put in order and in full compliance. We do not protest against it. And in general, ten years ago we wrote an article in which we did not claim sports citizenship from her, ”Alexander Yaremenko told Match TV.

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The presence of the best player of the Champions League in the Italian national team is, of course, a huge plus for all Italian volleyball on the eve of the European Championship and qualification for the Olympic Games, where the girl is likely to fly. she already training with the main team. The enormous potential in the front line of the national team is also demonstrated by Ekaterina’s results at Scandicci: she became the eighth goalscorer in the league in the 2022/2023 season. She brought 384 points, of which 45 on the block, 45, the best indicator in the league, on the field. It looks like head coach Davide Mazzanti will be happy with the new attacking prospects for her team.

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Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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