Turkish men triumph as European Golden League winners (source: cev.eu)

Turkish men triumph as European Golden League winners (source: cev.eu)

Türkiye edged Ukraine in five sets in Sunday’s CEV European Golden League men’s final as both teams secured their spots in Volleyball Challenger Cup 2023 from July 27 through 30. Meanwhile, Vietnam will take part in the women’s competition after winning the 2023 AVC Challenge Cup on Sunday. The Volleyball Challenger Cup champions next month will earn the right to compete in Volleyball Nations League 2024.

  • Watch Volleyball Challenger Cup 2023 live on VBTV

The European Golden League final-four event was held in Zadar over the weekend, with Türkiye coming out on the winning end of two five-set matches. In Saturday’s semifinal, last year’s Volleyball Challenger Cup silver medallists managed a 3-2 (22-25, 25-17, 19-25, 25-23, 15-12) victory over Czechia, with outside hitter Burutay Subasi leading his team with 17 points. In the other semifinal, Ukraine claimed a 3-1 (25-23, 21-25, 25-21, 25-12) win over final four hosts Croatia with opposite Vasyl Tupchii producing a match-high 18 points.

Ukraine’s Oleh Plotnytskyi in attack during the European League semifinal with Croatia (source: cev.eu)

Ukraine’s Oleh Plotnytskyi in attack during the European League semifinal with Croatia (source: cev.eu)

These wins were enough for Türkiye and Ukraine to book their tickets to the Volleyball Challenger Cup, but in Sunday’s final, they engaged in a fierce battle for the European Golden League trophy. In a rollercoaster duel, the Turks dominated the tie-breaker to celebrate a 3-2 (14-25, 25-22, 26-24, 22-25, 15-6) win. This time, sub-in opposite Kaan Gurbuz, who was among Türkiye’s starters for the last three sets, was the hero of the match with 19 points towards the victory, while Ukrainian star Oleh Plotnytskyi produced the match high of 20 points, including four aces.

Croatia pleased the home fans with the bronze, after shutting out Czechia in the third-place match. A total of 12 teams took part in the men’s European Golden League this year. They were split into three double round-robin home-and-away pools of four, with the pool winners joining hosts Croatia in the final-four tournament.


AVC Challenge Cup champions Vietnam (source: asianvolleyball.net)

Vietnam booked their ticket to the women’s Volleyball Challenger Cup, also after a dramatic five-set final of the 2023 AVC Challenge Cup in Gresik. With outside hitter and captain Tran Thi Thanh Thuy leading the way with 23 points, Vietnam claimed a 3-2 (25-18, 25-27, 21-25, 25-20, 15-13) victory over hosts Indonesia.

“Today is a good day for the team. We always support one another. I am very thankful to my teammates, our staff, our coaches... This is the reason for this victory,” stated Tran Thi Thanh Thuy, who was named Most Valuable Player of the tournament.

The AVC Challenge Cup was held from June 18 through 25 with the participation of 11 teams, split into four round-robin pools for the first phase of the competition. Chinese Taipei completed the podium after sweeping the third-place match against India.