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Meet Belarus women's national beach volleyball team!

Bronze medalists of the European U-20 Beach Volleyball Championship Victoria Sekretova and Victoria Shalaevskaya will move to senior sport starting from the new season.

Victoria Sekretova is a blocker and Victoria Shalaevskaya is a defender. Sekretova is 20 and she is from Minsk. Shalaevskaya, 19, is from Molodechno.

The duet was formed in 2014. In 2015, they became fourth at the U20 European Championships and a year later won bronze at the same event. These were the first medals in the history of women's beach volleyball in Belarus. It started developing in Belarus only in 2011.

In 2017, Vika and Vika competed at the U21 world championship where they were knocked out in the quarter finals finishing fifth. The executive committee of the Belarusian federation of volleyball expressed its displeasure.

Фото из личного архива Виктории Шалаевской
Viktoria Shalayevskaya's photo

The girls are stronger than you might think. Victoria Shalaevskaya lifts a weight of 220 kg with her legs. On Instagram, she congratulated men on Defender of the Fatherland Day with a video where she lifts two men, 95 kg each.

Victoria Shalaevskaya is displeased at not being able to play at the Second European Games: “Unfortunately, there are not enough sports facilities for tournaments in Belarus: they are in Molodechno, Minsk and Mozyr. Stadiums are usually empty, but not because Belarusian men are not attracted to girls in swimsuits. They just do not know where and when beach volleyball competitions are held. But this is a question to the federation. We don't understand why beach volleyball was excluded from II European Games that will be held in Minsk in 2019... Although it was included in the preliminary list of sports. We were shocked!

In the 2017 season, Victorias won medals in a senior tournament for the first time, although it was the "satellite" category.

In the world ranking (FIVB World Ranking) they are 115th now, but they were higher earlier. In 2015, they overcame the bar of 1,000 points.

In 2017, the number of foreign training sessions (they were replaced by training in Minsk and Raubichi) and trips to competitions decreased along with a decrease in sponsorship.

"This affected the training directly," Shalaevskaya said. "While in 2016 we had ten tournaments, now we stayed in Belarus for seven months before going to the youth world championship."

Фото из личного архива Виктории Шалаевской
Viktoria Shalayevskaya's photo

The girls train at Minsk Sea, sparring with amateur men. In such matches everything is different. Speeds are higher, and we need to adjust to what we can face in games with girls. Sometimes your body suffers. Girls even broke fingers in games against men.

Analyzing the recent successes of the girls, the Ministry of Sport of Belarus and the Volleyball Federation are developing a training plan for 2018.

Lithuanians, Poles and Czechs expressed desire to play against Belarusians in the off-season. Everyone calls Victorias for training in their countries. Sekretova and Shalaevskaya's coach Sergei Danilov is happy with this situation and is looking for resources to finance trips from private individuals.

In the next season we need to play at as many tournaments as possible to have good starting positions during the selection for the 2020 Olympic Games, which will be held in 2019. The high rating will allow us to qualify to top competitions and win points. There is no other way to win a ticket to Tokyo 2020,” says Shalaevskaya.

Meet Belarus women's national beach volleyball team!