As everyone knows the sport most loved by the Albanians is football. But if we were to rank the disciplines that gave more satisfaction to the schipetary sportsmen, things would change by far.
In fact, in the first place - at least in my humble opinion - we see the weightlifting, which gave world champions:, then Europeans, Balkans, Olympic primates, and an unforgettable third place for the National in the 1989 European Cup.
At the second the shooting with European and Balkan champions, on which the name of the great Elisabeta Karabolli stands out , the first Albanian to have won a European gold medal (1979) in the history of Albanian sport, having taken bronze in 1977 and silver in 1978.
At the third volleyball, with the great National of the Fifties, the prestigious finals and semi-finals in the European Cups of Dinamo (m & f) and Partizani (M), and the unforgettable Balkan gold medals of the women's national team and also in the Mediterranean Games.
Chess is in fourth place, thanks to the excellent performances of the men's national team, which is the only 'Kombëtarja' to have a positive balance, and to Fatos Muço, Erald Dervishi, Altin Çela, etc.
Fifth, basketball, with the good performances of Partizani in the European Cups (12 ° in Europe in 1980 and 1984) and of the National women's team in the Mediterranean and Balkan Games, and of Edra Alibegaj, among the best European filmmakers in many tournaments international and preliminary rounds. Only in the sixth the football, and in the seventh the athletics ... Always in my opinion: and correct me if I'm wrong or I forget something.
However, today, if an Albanian sportsman wanted to read the past of the first three sports listed - weightlifting, target shooting and volleyball, which are the ones that have given more to the Homeland - absurdly he has no volumes that can tell him. My friend Olti Buzi was aware of all this when he asked me to collaborate with the internet newspaper Albanianews.it he directed, which despite having recently completed the two-year period, has become the major web reference point for the Albanians and not only in the my country.
And then after the brief history of chess (25 December 2008-24 March 2009) and that dedicated to women's basketball (28 September 2009-23 May 2010) I will try to write the new history of Albanian volleyball, which between the fifties and seventies of the twentieth century had its culmination of successes and notoriety and splendor.
Le origins of the Albanian volleyball
Volleyball in Albania started playing in the 1923 at the College "Naim Frashëri" in Tirana, and then at the Liceo of Shkodër, at the Commercial School of Vlorë, at the Normal of Elbasan, etc. Between the 1934 and the 1936 they tried to create a National Championship, but the enterprise was not successful.
This sport involved interesting international aspects even immediately after the Second World War.
As we know in the 1946, after long years of war and destruction, international football returned to officially revive in European stadiums, precisely in a state where the war events had made themselves felt in all their weight: Albania. The thirty thousand fallen in the 1939-1944 Liberation War (out of just over 900 thousand inhabitants) were a burden far too burdensome to bear, but the desire to start over again got the better, so the VIII Balkan Football Championship (won by the same Albania, on Yugoslavia , Romania  and Bulgaria ) and the XIII of Athletics organized and competed in Tirana in a climate of great popular enthusiasm. It must be considered that the other official football tournaments started again later: the Interbritannico Tournament (British Home International) taken in the 1947; the 1948 Olympic soccer tournament, the 1950 World Championship, the Mitropa Cup started again in the 1955, and in the same year the Champions Cup and the Fairs Cup were born (from the 1971: UEFA Cup, from the 2009-10 Europa League ), the Cup Winners' Cup in the 1960 (last edition in the 1999); the European Nations Championship started in the 1960; etc.
As well as football, international volleyball also restarted from the Balkan Peninsula to the Bucharest CB (21-23 September 1946) in which Albania also participated; in fact the European, World and Olympic Championships launched the first edition respectively in 1948, 1949 and 1964. And from 24 in May to 2 in June, 1947 in Tirana organized the CB and Central European male and female: a good organizational success. The same applies to European women's volleyball, which started in Tirana at the CB 1947.
In the 1946 the national men's championships (Ylli i Kuq Durrës, now Teuta, formerly Lokomotiva) and women's (17 Nëntori, today Sportklub Tiranë) were launched, and in the 1954 the respective Cups of the Republic: that year the Partizani made the m & f poker, reached by Dinamo in the 1980, 1983, 1984, 1990 and by the Students in the 2005. The national volleyball scoreboard started in the 1959. Here (I) e here (II) rare and exceptional images of the event reported by Giovanni Nappi, in which some volleyball matches also appear.
The National "A" dall'apogeo from the 1950s to the eighties
The men have offered good practice and excellent victories at the World, European and Balkan Championships, with honorable placements.
In the 1955, at the 5th European Championship in Bucharest (15-26 June), it even reached the top ten European federations. The June 17 is a memorable date, as there was the first Albanian victory in the international arena: against Finland (3-1: 15-13, 15-10, 4-15, 15-11). The claims followed with Egypt (3-0), Austria (3-0), Belgium (3-2). He lost the last game, in a flash, with Italy (2-3: 8-15, 15-9, 14-16, 15-9, 13-15) while achieving more points: 65-64. In total 4 wins and as many defeats. To remember another episode. Albania in the final round 9 ° -14 place, met 20 June in Finland; today the regulation, instead, foresees the result acquired in the first game in case two national teams are found. Albania ran 2-0 (17-15, 15-10). Believing now that he had made it against an already beaten team (bad and repeated habit of the Albanians) he relaxed and lost 2-3 (8-15, 9-15, 9-15). If he had won, I would not say 3-0, but at least 3-1, he would have found himself, in the last match with Italy both on equal points (8) and on set difference (12-3). To get ninth would have been enough any victory (3-0, 3-1 or 3-2), while in the match with the Italians, the Albanians started with the assumption of winning either 3-0 or 3-1, being also the statement 3-2 useless for the ninth place. So imagine the nervousness and tension in the third set won by Italy on the wool thread that allowed to win the second set and mathematically ensure the victory in the group. It should be noted that Italy at the previous CE in Paris 1951 had reached eighth, and at the first edition of Rome 1949 had won the bronze medal, while at the I CM 1948 it was eighth.
Despite everything, Albania, with this historic result, entered the world volleyball elite. I say this, not because of excessive sympathies not supported by technical details. Europe at that time was the cradle and gym of planetary volley. Just think that in the world competitions of that period - that is the World Championships 1949, 1952, 1956, 1960 and 1962 - very few were the non-European national teams to qualify for the final round. None in the '49 is 52; two in the '56 (United States and People's China); four in the '60 (Brazil, United States, Japan and Venezuela); and three in the '62 (Japan, People's China and Brazil). On the other hand, confirming this, in the same year, at the 5th World Youth Tournament in Warsaw, Albania finished seventh, winning the 7 ° -11 group, ranking in respectively place of Democratic Germany (east, 3-1 ), Norway (3-0), Finland (3-1) and Mongolia (3-0): 4 wins and 3 defeats. We remember the unforgettable Albanian volleyball players who composed the basic sextet: Egon Gjadri, Qemal Gjinali, Shefqet Kau, Vangjel Koja, Andon Kona, Jorgji Kona, Napoleon Llalla, Fatmir Meka, Petrit Murzaku.
After a three-year term at the VI CE of Prague (30 August-11 September 1958), Albania confirmed the good performance of the previous CE, beating Austria (3-0), Turkey (3-1), Tunisia (3-1), Egypt (3-0), Finland (3-1) and Holland (3-2) and taking the eleventh place, improving the wins (6) / defeats (5) ratio. At the end of the CE the national team went to East Berlin, where they defeated the hosts for the 3-1 (Democratic Germany will be 1970 world champion). The formation was: Masar Aga, Ymer Dogani, Qemal Gjinali, Andon Kona, Napoleon Llalla, Fatmir Meka, Pëllumb Pelivani, Teodor Koçi; coach Enver Maçi. The president of the 'Fédération Internationale de Volleyball', the French Paul Libaud had words of praise for the Albanians for the results achieved. I always remember that the schipetarian country had a population (just over one and a half million inhabitants) lower than that of the province of Turin at the time, like today in Rome, and yet ...
Another great performance was the V World Championship in Moscow (12-26 October 1962), in which the Albanians took part although the Soviet Union had unilaterally broken diplomatic relations the previous 3 December: first of all a lesson in sportsmanship. The National team defeated Tunisia (3-0), Finland (3-1), Austria (3-0) and Mongolia (3-0) resulting in sixteenth in the world and eleventh European (confirming Praga '58). Fatmir Sharofi also played in Moscow, and the National one closed the first gold standard.
The Albanians came back to the VIII CE of Istanbul (26 October-8 November 1967), managing to get three victories (3-1 to Turkey, 3-2 to Holland and 3-0 to Sweden) and a thirteenth place of all respect. Instead in the preliminary round of Sofia VII CM (13-17 September 1970), Albania won clearly three times (3-0 to Turkey, Federal Germany and Greece), but lost 2-3 with Holland (later Olympic champion 1996 and European 1997) and came third and almost qualifying for the final stage in the last dramatic match, lost with the traditional Finnish rival still in the fifth set (15-13, 7-15, 11-15, 15-5, 8- 15). The Dutch and the Scandinavians passed.
At the final phase of the CE 1971, which took place in Ancona, Bergamo, Bologna, Imola, Milan, Modena and Turin from the 23 September to the 1º October, Albania refused to participate in order not to meet the Soviet National team in Group A (Imola). It was one of the greatest damages that politics made to Albanian sport. Albania had been included - and certainly in bad faith on the part of some political intrigues of pro-Soviet Italian parties - in the same circle as the USSR, Belgium and England, knowing well that Tirana disdained playing with the Soviets. The Albanian national team was based on the volleyball players of the great Dinamo Tirana (who opened the second golden cycle of the Albanian volleyball), at that time one of the strongest teams in Europe, as we will see better in the second part of my work. Albania could very well participate, not play with the Kremlin team, and then easily beat Belgium. Even England did not even arrive, and the Albanians would have used a rest shift. Freshest of all, she would have qualified in the group from the 7 ° to the 12 ° place, with excellent chances to improve the historic tenth position of sixteen years before: to date the best of all time. One of the many opportunities thrown away by Albanian sport to excel in the international arena.
[photo] Albania that participated in the European Championships in Prague 1958 and then defeated the Democratic Germany (East) for 3-1 in Berlin in a friendly
I still remember him, I was a teenager and I keep the newspaper clippings: I got very irritated also because I was hoping that on Wednesday the 22 Sports: 15 (ancient Rai broadcast, broadcast by the then second TV channel) or the daily news channel of the first channel tv (19: 45-20: 00) showed some images of the Albanians, which I had never seen. Instead, nothing: the Soviets passed the elimination round playing only one game, the one with the Belgians (!!!).
In the 1975 the National team returned to dispute the CB in Athens (19-24 May) arriving fifth (the 3ª, 4ª and 5ª took part in the European Championships: Yugoslavia, Romania and Bulgaria). The senior national team also placed fifth in the CB 1977 which was organized in May in Adana (Turkey): only victory against Greece (3-0). Same thing in the CB of Athens (21-24 May 1980) Albania came again fifth (T. Balli, I. Boriçi, Robert Damo, Hysen Domi, Dashamir Fagu, Rajmond Gjerazi, L. Halili, Sh. Hoxha, V. Malo, Skënder Qefalia, Leonard Tase, Shaban Uka, all .: Vangjel Koja and A. Miraku, referee: Babaçe Beqiri).
The international "accident" of the Quadruple Seven and the National "juniores" in the 1980s
The 7 July 1977 (7-7-77) the National "juniors" (Hysen Domi, Sh. Hoxha, Shaban Uka, Dashamir Fagu, I. Boriçi and Kiço Lena; all .: Andon Kona) defeated the National homologation in Tirana of the People's Republic of China, vice-world champion, for 3-1 (15-6, 13-15, 15-11, 15-3). The same day he was out "Zëri i popullit" the famous unsigned editorial, but in my opinion written by Enver Hoxha, Theory dhe praktika and revolucionit (a doctrinal manifesto of eight thousand words) with which Albania broke ideological ties with Beijing and dismantled the Maoist theory of the three worlds as an anti-Marxist. Imagine the air you breathe in the grandstand of the "Partizani" sports hall (today "Asllan Rusi") where there were the Albanian Minister of Health, Llambi Ziçishti (4) and Hun Bo, a business manager 'Interim'at the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Tirana, who had read the article in the morning, translated by the ATSh in English and French for foreign news agencies. A cold atmosphere.
The Chinese State Agency Xinua, the 4 July, had reported that at the lunch offered in honor of the Albanian national men's and women's basketball teams (accompanied by Manol Bozaxhiu, head of the organizational sector of the "Komitet and Kulturës Fizike and Sporteve të RPS të Shqipërisë" ) on tour in the People's Republic of China, took part in the First Secretary of the Albanian Embassy in Beijing, Niko Mitrushi, but not the Ambassador who, it seems to me, was Behar Shtylla. I believe that the Albanian retaliation was motivated by the fact that at the departure of the aforementioned representatives for Beijing, the second secretary of the Chinese Embassy in Albania, Van Y-Lin, and Ambassador Liu Xin Zhuan were present at the departure of the aforementioned representatives for Beijing. . As noted, the weather was not the best three days before.
From the 3 to the September 7 1980 the "Junior" National team debuted in Europe taking part in the CB in Bucharest with a positive balance of 3 victories and 2 defeats: Romania-Albania 3-2, Albania-Turkey 3-2, Albania-Bulgaria 3 -2 (Bulgaria vice-European junior champion 1979!), Greece-Albania 3-1 and Albania-Yugoslavia 3-2 (Yugoslavia, seventh for the EC junior 1979). The Greeks came third on an equal footing with Albania (8 points; victory is 2 points and defeat 1 p.) But with a better set-difference (11-7 against 12-12); Romania won with 9 points tied with Bulgaria. The first Albanian youth national team outside the patriarchal borders should be remembered: Aliraj (Flamurtari), Damo (Skënderbeu), Jaho (Partizani), Mark Krroqi (Vllaznia), Naçi (Students), Arben Rakipi (17 Nëntori); reserves: Petrit Goxhaj (Partizani), Fatos Lulo (Dinamo), Pando (Flamurtari), Agim Reka (17 Nëntori), Dhimitër Ruci (Partizani), Voshtina (Partizani); all .: Andon Kona and Thoma Spaho. The Albanian referees, Osman Plaku and Isa Boletini, were proclaimed the best in the tournament.
The bronze medal did not delay, and at the subsequent CB "juniores" of Kalamata (Greece, 9-13 September 1981) the National team overcoming Yugoslavia and the outgoing Romanian champions for 3-0 in the last two games, took third place. Artur Dhimo, Ardian Doçi, Roland Gavazi, Petrit Goxhaj, Albert Ivanaj, Mark Krroqi, Fatos Lulo, Arben Muka, Arben Rakipi, Agim Reka, Dhimitër Ruci; all .: Vangjel Koja and Thoma Spaho; referee: Andrea Zhori.
At the CB “juniores” of Mihajlovgrad (Bulgaria, 1 ° -6 September 1982) Albania beat Romania (3-2) and Turkey (3-1), and placed fifth behind the Turks for set difference.
Bronze return to Îzmit (Turkey) during the CB "junior" (24-28 August 1983); three consecutive victories: against the hosts (3-1), Romania (3-2) and Greece (3-1). Basic sextet: Ardian Doçi, Roland Gavazi (among the best in the tournament), Kapidani, Jani Melka, Agim Reka and Shahu trained by Andon Kona and Thoma Spaho.
In Gradacac (Yugoslavia) the "junior" national team during the CB (8-12 August 1984) passed respectively the first and last day, the hosts (3-1; Yugoslavia, ninth to the CE Juniores 1984) and Greece ( 3-2; Greece, tenth in the EC Juniores 1984) finishing fourth.
A first excellent performance by the National "junior" team at the CB was established the following year in Orestiada (Greece, 17-21 August 1985). Beating Greece (3-1), Turkey (3-2), Greece "B" (3-0) and Yugoslavia (3-1; Yugoslavia eleventh at the CE Juniores 1986) the young men achieved the silver medal behind Bulgaria . Trained by Ilir Xhemalçe and Thoma Spaho: B. Alikaj, R. Bimli, A. Canaj, Ardian Doçi, E. Doda, Roland Gavazi, A. Korça, Jani Melka, Sh. Meta and G. Musaj.
On the contrary, the CB "juniores" of Ramnicu Vlulea (Romania, 3-7 September 1986) and again of Mihajlovgrad (5-9 September 1987) were stingy with satisfactions: two disappointing sixth places and one victory against Turkey (3-2 the 3 September 1986).
1990s and 2000s
The National "A"
After a pause of ten years the National team returned to the CB of Dobric (ex Tolbuhin, in Bulgaria: 13-17 May 1990) in preparation for the XI Mediterranean Games in Athens. Albania stored five defeats in five games, finishing last. The year after two away wins in as many friendlies against Romania (3-0 and 3-2, 16 and 18 June 1991). The debut at the Mediterranean Championships in Greece (4-11 July 1991) was not the best. In Group A came fourth out of five, surpassing only Egypt (3-2), then lost the semifinal for the 5 ° -8 place with the hosts (1-3), and beat Algeria in the last game (3-0) arriving seventh. Also the following year things did not go better: only one victory against Turkey "B" (3-0) at the CB of Îzmir (Turkey, 14-17 May 1992) and the fourth final place.
The XII Mediterranean Games in Languedoc / Roussillon (France, June 1993) represented an even greater disappointment: all defeated in Group A, even against the newly formed Bosnia and Herzegovina federation. At the XIII Mediterranean Games of Bari (June 1997) even worse: all lost to 0-3 in Group B. To the XIV of Tunis (September 2001) the bottom was touched: unsuccessful also from San Marino (1-3) and the 10 Place. With San Marino Albania took revenge at the International Tournament of that State (January 2003), winning 3-0 and winning the trophy.
At the XV Mediterranean Games of Almería (Spain, June 2005) last in the elimination group behind France and Tunisia. Same thing for the recent XVI of Pescara (June-July 2009), fifth in the eliminatory group B.
Some good evidence was recorded in the aftermath of the Albanian presence - expected from well 35 years - to the preliminary rounds for the XVI CM 2006 in Japan. In the preliminary group of Tallinn (Estonia) after the initial defeat with the hosts (0-3), Albania has overtaken Bosnia and Herzegovina and Israel for 3-1 (30 April and 1 ° May 2005). Ene Xhelati, Genti Lundra and Altin Gorenca are respectively the best scorer, center and point guard of the tournament; despite this, second place was not enough to pass the round.
At the qualifications for the XXVI CE of Îstanbul - return after 41 years - Albania was eliminated due to points difference with the same set difference against Azerbaijan (3-1 at home, 8 May and 1-3 away '11: 176-187). Another second place in the elimination group for the XVII CM 2010 to be held in Italy: after defeating the hosts of Azerbaijan for 3-0 (9 January 2009), Albania lost to Montenegro on the second day (0 -3), with the meager consolation, then, to overcome Moldavia (3-1) and place in the place of honor. The strong Albania of the fifties and seventies now remained only a memory.
The Nationals "junior" (Under 20) and youth (Under 18). The foundation of the ABP
Things went a little better for the "juniors". After three last places - with only one victory (3-0 to Romania in the 1990) - to the CBs of Siras (Greece, 5-9 September 1990), Bucharest (5-7 September 1991) and Kütahya (Turkey, 18-23 August 1992), the junior national team won silver at the Dobric CB (4-8 August 1993): Bulgaria-Albania 3-0, Albania-Greece 3-0 (Greece, fifth at the EC Juniores 1994) and Albania-Romania 3 -1. It is worth remembering the protagonists trained by Hysen Domi: Dritan Çuko (Dinamo), Bledar Doçi (Dinamo), Judmir Komini (Partizani), Naim Limanaj (Dinamo), Artur Mara (Sportklub T.), Edgar Miraku (Elbasani), Leonard Rama ( Partizani), Donald Suxho (Skënderbeu), Roland Tare (Partizani) and Edvin Trebicka (Sportklub T.).
The CB "junior" of the 1998 in Orestiada (Greece, August) did not give satisfaction (three defeats in the elimination round).
Meanwhile the Balkan Volleyball Association ('Balkan Volleyball Association') was founded in those same cities and year. Due to the incipient crisis in Còssovo, activities were temporarily suspended. However, on the initiative of the Greek federation and its president, Thanasis Beligratis, the member federations of the ABP (Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldavia, Romania, then Serbia and Montenegro and Turkey) unanimously voted for the re-foundation of the ABP, during the Extraordinary General Assembly of Athens in the 2000.
The purpose of this regional association - based in Thessaloniki, and recognized by the International Federation - is to further develop beach volleyball and beach volleyball in the Balkans, in all male and female categories, organizing training courses and preparation, as well as official competitions, as well as to create solid ties and cooperation between the zonal federations, thus providing significant opportunities for establishing a climate of peace in the Balkan region.
Therefore, every summer the ABP organizes "junior" (Under 20) and youth (Under 18) volleyball championships for men and women, as well as the "beach volley" m & f championships for "seniores", "Under 23" and "Under 20". The races are held in all the Balkan countries. From the 2008 the ABP Club Champions Cup was launched. In the 2007 he was President of the ABP, the Albanian Gjergji Leqejza. The 2005 General Assembly took place in Tirana. Later they joined the ABP: Bosnia / Herzegovina and Montenegro.
On the eight editions (2002-2009) currently held in the CB "Under 20", Albania has taken part in five: 2002 (7ª), 2003 (7ª), 2004 (7ª), 2007 (10ª) and 2009 (7ª ). The "Under 18": on nine editions (2001-2009) in three: 2004 (7ª), 2007 (9ª), 2009 (8ª).
As for the 'beach volley' - which I personally consider a game but not a sport (among other things it is played on the sand two against two ...!) - the best male performance turns out to be the fourth place: 2005 in Durrës “Under 20 "; 2006 in Vlorë "Seniores"; 2006 in Costantto (Romania) "Under 20"; 2007 in Pogradec "Under 20"; 2009 in Izmir (Turkey) "Under 23". (1. Continues)
|1946||Ylli i Kuq||–||–|
|1986-87||17 Nëntori||17 Nëntori||–|
|1991-92||Sportklub Tir.||Sportklub Tir.||–|
Championship wins: 25 Dinamo Tiranë (Olimpik), 13 Partizani Tiranë, 10 Students Tiranë, 8 Sportklub Tiranë (17 Nëntori), 4 Teuta Durrës (Ylli i Kuq, Puna D, Lokomotiva), 3 Erzeni Shijak, 1 Spartaku Tiranë
Victories in the Republic Cup: 18 Dinamo Tiranë, 11 Students Tiranë, 9 Partizani Tiranë, 6 Sportklub Tiranë (17 Nëntori), 6 Vllaznia Shkodër, 2 Erzeni Shijak, 1 Dajti Tiranë, 1 Spartaku Tiranë, 1 Teuta Durrës
Wins in the Spartachiade: Dinamo Tiranë 3, Partizani Tiranë 2, 17 Nëntori 1 (today Sportklub Tiranë)
(1) Third at the 1930 World Cup, and Balkan Champion 1934 is 35.
(2) Final round of the 1930 World Cup, '34 is 38 and Champion of the Balkans 1930,' 33 is 36.
(3) Champion of the Balkans 1931 is 32.
(4) Llambi Ziçishti was shot the September 17 1983, for his involvement in Mehmet Shehu's attempted coup, aimed at toppling Enver Hoxha.
The other episodes:
II (27 December 2012): The second gold standard. The men's clubs in European Cups: Dinamo and Partizani, big among the big ones
III (13 January 2013): The third gold standard: women. Clubs in European Cups
IV (7 February 2013): Ela Tase, international star of volleyball
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