'Enchanted' by volleyball, Arina Fedorovtseva receives instructions during a timeout at the 2021 VNL.

While some of the more established top guns of Russia are still struggling to find their feet at the 2021 FIVB Women's Volleyball Nations League, there's a new kid on the block that's set to be the new face of the country's volleyball.

And it's not by chance that this is 17-year-old Arina Fedorovtseva. Her family background is promise that wonderful days are ahead.

When she was no more than a few months old baby, father Sergey was striking gold at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games in quadruple sculls. He also went on to win more gold medals at the 2011 and 2015 European Championships in his rowing discipline.

Arina's mother also has a background in rowing and her sister in rhythmic gymnastics.

"Both my parents were rowers, but I never considered taking up this sport," says Arina. "I first tried my hand at swimming, but then I started to play volleyball, because when I saw it I really liked it. I was enchanted by the character of this game, so I began volleyball training and still enjoy it very much."


Arina Fedorovtseva in action at the 2021 VNL: Following father's sporting lead and aiming high.

Obviously, her father's Olympic gold medal has been an inspiration for the budding volleyball star that has already started making a name for herself in the Russian League with Dinamo Kazan - only to get snatched up by Fenerbahce Istanbul ahead of next season's Turkish League and European Champions League.

"My father's Olympic medal is the greatest and best stimulus and motivation for me to aim for the Olympic medal, too," she says. "My father has always been my role model and he helps me a lot. I do my best to be as good as him."

She remains down to earth, though.

"I'm only at the beginning of my volleyball career, so I cannot highlight any achievements," says Fedorovtseva. "My goal is not to win trophies, but to improve my game, to help my team and to fight hard in every match."

"I'm trying to observe many top players and try to learn from the best, to follow their style of volleyball and master my skills like they do. However, I can say that two of my favourite players are Wilfredo Leon and Sergey Tetyukhin."

But she's proud to be part of Team Russia at the Rimini 'bubble' for the VNL.

"Like for every athlete, representing my country is the greatest honour and responsibility to be 'a face' of your country."