Israel’s volleyballers finish fourth in Ankara

Turkish police on hand in droves to stem pro-Palestinian protests.

volleyball 311 (photo credit: courtesy)
volleyball 311
(photo credit: courtesy)
With snipers on the roof of the arena and over 2,000 policemen protecting their every move, Israel’s women’s national volleyball team dropped to a 3-0 defeat to Turkey on Sunday to finish fourth in the CEV European League final four in Ankara, Turkey.
Only invited guests were allowed to enter Sunday’s game, with the Israel bus traveling a different route from the one it used for Saturday’s semifinal against Serbia after dozens of pro-Palestinian protesters scuffled with police.
“Don’t be dogs of Zionism. God will hold you to account,” angry demonstrators snarled at police in helmets, who pushed them back with shields of reinforced plastic.
“Esteemed friends,” appealed a police commander with a loudspeaker. “Please don’t cause trouble.”
Israel, which is preparing for its European Championship qualifiers against Belarus in September, surprised everyone by reaching the final four, but lost both its matches in Ankara in straight sets.
On Sunday, Israel gave Turkey a fight in the first two sets, only to lose the crucial points and fall to a 25-19, 25-23, 25-15 defeat.
“We didn’t play our best volleyball in the final four and the gaps between ourselves and Serbia and Turkey were clear for all to see,” said Israel coach Arie Selinger.
“We tried to do our best, but we didn’t manage to so as well as we did against Spain and Greece in the European League qualifiers.
We will take a short break before beginning to prepare for our mail goal – qualifying for the European Championships.”