Tatyana Kosheleva (RUS)

Tatyana Kosheleva and Anna Podkopaeva (previously known by her maiden name Malova) are among the 23 players on the Russian women’s national team roster to start preparations for the upcoming season, which includes the FIVB Volleyball Nations League, the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and the CEV European Championship.

A gold medallist of the 2010 FIVB Volleyball World Championship with Russia and of the 2016 FIVB Volleyball Club World Championship with Turkey’s Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul, 32-year-old outside Kosheleva has not played for the national team in official international competition since 2017, but could re-join the squad to make her VNL debut, play at her third Olympics or chase her third continental title.

31-year-old libero Podkopaeva, also a two-time European champion and a two-time FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix medallist, last played official matches for Russia at the Rio 2016 Olympics, where she topped the charts for best digger of the tournament.

The return of both Kosheleva and Podkopaeva to the national team is not a complete surprise, as they both appeared in the squad’s only competition in 2020, the Kaliningrad Oblast Governer’s Cup invitational in August.

The Russian federation announced Italian coach Sergio Busato’s selection on Monday, the same day some of the players arrived in Novogorsk, near Moscow, for their first training camp.

Kosheleva, Podkopaeva and most of the other major stars of the team, like setters Evgeniya Startseva and Tatiana Romanova, opposite Nataliya Goncharova, outside hitters Irina Voronkova and Anna Lazareva, and middle blockers Irina Koroleva, Irina Fetisova and Ekaterina Efimova, as well as 17-year-old rising star and senior national team rookie Arina Fedorovtseva, will join the camp on May 1.

Arina Fedorovtseva (RUS)

Arina Fedorovtseva (RUS)

Players called up:

Setters:Ekaterina Lazareva, Evgeniya Startseva, Polina Matveeva, Tatiana Romanova

Opposites:Kseniia Smirnova, Nataliya Goncharova, Valeria Gorbunova

Outside hitters:Anna Lazareva, Arina Fedorovtseva, Ekaterina Pipunyrova, Irina Sazonova, Irina Voronkova, Kseniia Parubets, Tatyana Kosheleva

Middle blockers:Daria Malygina, Ekaterina Efimova, Elizaveta Kotova, Irina Fetisova, Irina Koroleva, Yulia Brovkina

Liberos:Anna Podkopaeva, Daria Pilipenko, Tamara Zaitseva