Sidelights

NOT long ago Belgrade was a dreaded place what with all the civil war and ethnic cleansing. When this year's World League final round was allotted to Belgrade there was some apprehension. So there was a second inspection by the FIVB officials before the event. Franz Schmied, Managing Director, World League Council visited the place and said "The (playing) Hall is amazing and I believe that the final round in Belgrade will be a real spectacle for everyone." That cleared all doubts about the venue.

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The entire final round, involving Brazil, Serbia and Montenegro (host), Cuba and Poland, was covered by 28 different major TV channels in over 140 countries worldwide in 23 different languages! Eurosport is the most widely available channel in Europe, reaching over 95 million houses and 250 million viewers in 54 countries simultaneously in 18 languages. The gold medal match between Brazil and Serbia alone was covered by 21 TV channels in 22 languages in over 100 countries. "In the history of the World League this is a unique record and we will do everything to increase and develop volleyball coverage continuously," said Franz Schmied.

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There were 18,140 spectators for the Brazil-Serbia title clash and they rooted for the home team. But Brazil rallied brilliantly to make it a hat-trick of title victories. Among the crowd were Boris Tadic, President of Serbia, Dr. Ruben Acosta, President, FIVB, and Aleksandar Boricic, President of Serbia Federation. Acosta said " The 2005 World League was a huge success all over the world — during the inter-continental round as well as during the final round — and contributed to bring people together around a magnificent celebration of volleyball."

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Silver medallist Serbia's Ivan Milkovic received the Best Scorer/ Most Valuable Player (MVP) award for the fourth time. He had won it in 2001, 2002 and 2003. Other players who bagged the special awards were — Best spiker: Henry C. Bell (Cuba), Best blocker: Dante Amaral (Brazil), Best server: Ivan Milkovic (Serbia) and Best libero: Mark Samarzic (Serbia).