Russia defeats Poland for world title, Olympic slot

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Russia defeats Poland for world title, Olympic slot

TOKYO - Russia stormed back from match points down to defeat Poland and win the men’s World Cup volleyball tournament on Sunday, also ensuring qualification for next summer’s Olympic Games.

The Russians, who won the title in 1999, were down at 10-14 in the final set before scoring a 25-23, 23-25, 25-22, 17-25, 17-15 victory.

Russia, also four-time champions as the former Soviet Union, finished with a 10-1 win-loss record for 29 points, beating Poland into second place with an 8-3 record on 26 points.

Poland’s second-place finish means that it too will be in London for the Olympics in 2012.

“I am the happiest person on earth today because today is my birthday and my players gave me a wonderful gift,” said Russian coach Vladimir Alekno.

“I also congratulate Poland for taking the ticket to the Olympic Games. It was the goal for each team.”

Poland appeared satisfied as the team won its first medal since winning silver in 1965.

“We are really glad that we qualified for the Olympics. We came here to qualify, but still we were fighting to end at the first place. They [Russia] were better than us,” said defenseman Krzysztof Ignaczak.

Polish coach Andrea Anastasi said it was “an incredible tournament” after winning the silver medal against the best teams in the world.

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