Having lost their first match at the 2021 FIVB Volleyball Women’s U20 World Championship, Russia turned things around to win bronze. The Russians made their efforts count in their most important fixtures, including re-matches against USA and the Netherlands.
Tatiana Seliutina, from starting volleyball “by accident” to leading Russia
Russia's captain on what it means to lead her country's team
Published 08:00, 18 Jul 2021
Winning the match against the North American team allowed the Russians to safeguard their chances of entering the semifinals battle, while outperforming Netherlands meant bringing home the bronze medals.
Russian captain Tatiana Seliutina was proud of her team's achievements.
“In most of the competitions, it happens this way. In the first match, you try to understand the atmosphere, you search for your rhythm. I am glad that we could get back on track after the loss to USA in the first match. We then improved our game and showed resilience when we had to.”
Russia head coach Igor Kurnosov picked both Seliutina and Viktoriia Kobzar as his setters during the competition. And Tatiana continued to motivate her teammates when she was on the bench.
To the 18-year-old setter, being the captain of Russia meant a lot. “It is joy, but it is also a responsibility," she said. "You have this special function of channeling the team’s energy in the right direction, to motivate your teammates, and to be there for them.”
Seliutina comes from a non-sports family. Neither of her parents played volleyball, so her encounter with the sport was “by accident”, she said. “I started at the age of 11. It was a strange but beautiful coincidence that I got involved in volleyball. I liked it a lot and I stayed. I just enjoy it!”
Seliutina’s coaches saw her potential and started working with her for her further development as a setter.
“I am not so tall to play in other positions,” Seliutina said. “Additionally, my coaches said I could be a setter, that I can remain focused, and I can lead the girls at the same time. And this is what I am trying to do!”
Tatiana remembers her first participation in the Russian Championship fondly. It was key to her continuing on the path to professional volleyball. “Of course, it was the age-category championship. I liked the atmosphere, the thrill.”
Tatiana was a student at a sport school in Chelyabinsk - a region famous for its volleyball traditions. Seliutina then made a huge step, joining the most decorated club in Russia - Uralochka NTKM - Ekaterininburg. “It is a great honour for me to be part of this team where some of the best Russian players have played - Ekaterina Gamova, Liobov Sokolova among others.”
Playing for Uralochka, Tatiana will also experience playing on the European volleyball stage when her team play in the 2021/2022 CEV Cup. “I try to learn each day and to enjoy every moment!"
Tatiana likes to take things one dream at a time. “I want to join the national women’s team, and from that point, we will see what the future holds.”