“The Hope of the World Volleyball”. How the Russian woman became the best player in the French championship
Tatyana Postnikova June 11, 2023, 15:02 Moscow time Audio version: Your browser does not support the audio element.
20-year-old Vita Akimova turned on the Volero and will now put on a big show in Italy.
Russian volleyball players-legionnaires do not cease to please fans. Dmitry Musersky won silver at the Japanese Championship, Arina Fedorovtseva and Anna Lazareva became the champions of Turkey. And in mid-May, six (!) Russians at once won the French championship as part of Volero. Among these athletes was Vita Akimova. The other day, the 20-year-old diagonal was recognized as the top scorer in the French championship. Here is the level!
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Vita Akimova’s star lit up unexpectedly. A young volleyball player began her sports career in her native Noyabrsk. At the age of 11, Ella Akimova moved to Surgut, where she trained for several years at the Avers Sports School.
His professional career began in 2017, when Dynamo-Ak Bars invited Vita to their venue. The athlete competed in the Youth League, where she won silver in 2019 and gold in 2020, in the major leagues A and B. At the same time, Akimova also managed to play for the club – she made her debut in the Super League in 2019. In 2021, the diagonal He played on loan at Sparta Nizhny Novgorod.
Since 2017, Vita has been called up to the Russian national team. The athlete became a silver medalist at the European Under-16 Championship, European Under-17 Champion, 2019 European Youth Olympic Festival Champion and a bronze medalist at the European Under-20 Championship, where she was recognized as the best diagonal of the tournament.
Russian youth team with Vita Akimova
Photo: From the personal archive of Vita Akimova
In 2021, after the end of the lease in Sparta, Akimova signed a contract with Dynamo-Metar Chelyabinsk. As part of this team, Vita at the end of the season became the second scorer in the Super League regular season, earning 512 points in 26 games, while executing attacks was 40%.
It is not surprising that after such a season, although not in the best team, the 19-year-old Akimova was noticed. In June 2022, the Russian woman signed a contract with the French Volero, which is run by former Soviet volleyball player and businessman Stav Jacobi (Stanislav Yakubovsky).
“The young nugget Akimov is one of the greatest hopes of world volleyball. Despite his very slim physique, Vita has a powerful shot, as well as great variety in his game, ”the French club wrote about the new player at the time.
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In many ways, the transition happened thanks to agent Ekaterina Fedorovtseva, the mother of Turkish Russian Super League star Arina Fedorovtseva. It was she who helped Jacoby to look for young talents in the Russian championship. Together with Akimova, four more Russian women moved to Volero: Victoria Kobzar, Elizaveta Kochurina, Anna Kotikova and Alina Popova.
However, it was Vita who came out with the brightest season. She shone even when the club was going through problems: she finished fifth in the regular league, changed coaches, flew to the Champions League round of 16 and almost fell out of the League A playoffs. Well, in the final of the fight for the national title, Akimova was really beautiful. In the first game she scored 37 points, and in the second, 29!
Vita Akimova – MVP in France
Photo: Volero Le Cannet
“I am delighted with the opportunity to play in Italy”
Such a high-level game could not go unnoticed. At the end of the season, Vita was recognized as the MVP of the French Championship. This was facilitated by the status of the top scorer, which the Russian woman received by a wide margin. In 34 games, Vita scored 726 points, averaging 5.54 points per game. The closest pursuer, the American Taylor Mims, has 492 points in 26 games (4.92 points per game on average). Additionally, Vita’s astounding execution of attacks (43%) helped him become the best player of the season.
It is true that the young athlete was recognized as the best scorer in the French league after leaving Volero. On the same day, June 10, the Italian team Igor Gorgonzola announced the transfer of Akimova. The Novara club signed a two-year contract with the Russian.
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“I am delighted with the opportunity to play in Italy for such a prestigious club like Igor Gorgonzola,” Akimova told the club’s press service. – I think this is an important step for me, because the Italian league is a very high-level competition. Last year I was able to prove it when, together with Volero, I faced the Italian club Volley in the Champions League. I can’t wait to play this type of match every week. I am looking to grow in all aspects of my game and I want to get to the top with my new Novara teammates.”
Vita came to Igor Gorgonzola as a replacement for the Turkish Ebrar Karakurt, who moved to Lokomotiv. And this means that the playing time of the Russian athlete is practically guaranteed. At the new club, Akimova will have the opportunity to be more active in the Champions League. Last season, the Novara club came fourth in the Italian championship and reached the semifinals of the Champions League, losing to the future runner-up of the tournament, the Turkish Exachibashi.
The story of another star of our volleyball, who went abroad:
“I don’t feel afraid.” Interview with Russian volleyball star moving to Türkiye