Sat, May 24, 2008 - Page 18 News List

Serbia's women qualify for Beijing

AFP , TOKYO

Malgorzata Glinka Mogentale of Poland spikes the ball against Thailand during their women's volleyball world final qualification match in Tokyo yesterday.

PHOTO: AP

Serbia's women's volleyball team won their first ever ticket to the Olympics after beating Puerto Rico yesterday for a fifth straight-sets win in the final qualifying round.

The world bronze medalists remain unbeaten with two games left in the eight-team round robin competition after their 25-12, 25-18, 25-18 triumph.

The winners of the tournament, along with the best-placed Asian nation and the two other best-placed teams from the remaining six, qualify for the Games in August.

“I can’t explain my feeling. I feel some pleasure that I never felt before in my life ... going to the Olympics,” attacker Jelena Nikolic said.

She said the team had played “with one heart,” adding: “We had a lot of pressure, but we showed that we are a big team.”

Since being appointed Serbia coach in 2002, Zoran Terzic pointed out that the team had qualified for every major tournament and had won silver in the European championships and bronze at the World championships.

“It was very special for us. Of course it was a little tough at the start of the game, because we were under pressure, but I really want to congratulate my players,” Terzic said. “This is the first time in the history of Serbia that the volleyball national team has qualified for the Olympic Games. We made something special and of course we are very, very happy because of that.”

Earlier in the day, Kazakhstan’s hopes of reaching Beijing fizzled out after they were beaten 25-20, 25-22, 25-17 by the Dominican Republic.

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