The rising stars of Europe's volleyball family will travel to the Bulgarian cities of Plovdiv and Samokov, where the Final Round of the 2015 CEV U18 Volleyball European Championship – Women is set to take place from March 28 through to April 5. Six teams will qualify for the FIVB Volleyball Girls' U18 World Championship, which is scheduled to take place from August 7-16 in Lima, Peru.
The drawing of lots for the competition was held under the supervision of CEV Vice-President and Jury President Renato Arena. ESOC member Willy Bruninx was on stage for the draw, assisted by Bulgarian legend Borislav Kiossev.
The result of the draw reads as follows:
Pool I in Samokov: Serbia, Russia, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Greece
Pool II in Plovdiv: Bulgaria, Belgium, Turkey, Netherlands, Poland, Czech Republic
Bulgaria will hope to make home advantage count to win their first medal in this age group since the competition was established back in 1995.
Both Samokov and Plovdiv have hosted international competitions in the past. Plovdiv is also the birthplace of Stefka Kostadinova, President of the Bulgarian Olympic Committee, who still holds the high jump world record after setting it at 2.09m back in 1987. Kostadinova was among those featured in a video shown before the drawing of lots ceremony, and she welcomed all the teams set to travel to Plovdiv for this European Championship.
The draw also set the tone for a busy year for volleyball in Bulgaria as the country will also host – together with Italy – the Final Round of the 2015 CEV Volleyball European Championship – Men through October 9-18, 2015. Bulgarian Volleyball Federation Vice-President Mr Ivan Todorov, as well as local authorities from the host cities of Plovdiv and Samokov, were also in attendance at the ceremony and welcomed the delegations that will be traveling to Bulgaria later this year. Poland won the most recent edition of the championship co-hosted by Montenegro and Serbia in 2013, after edging Italy in a dramatic final match, while Turkey settled for bronze.