Zenit-Kazan triumphed in the Spartakiad, the maiden edition of a new Russian volleyball tournament.
After a disappointing finish last season in which they got eliminated from the Superliga playoff semi-finals by Lokomotiv Novosibirsk, powerhouse Zenit-Kazan started this season in a good way.
Alexey Verbov’s guys, competing under the name of the Tatarstan National Team, won all eight matches of the Spartakiad and became the first winner of the tournament, which was invented as a valid alternative to international competitions from which Russian players and teams are suspended and in which the eight strongest clubs of the 2021/22 Russian Championship took part.
In the final, the Kazan side defeated Zenit St. Petersburg, which suffered a huge loss before the decisive match as their pillar Egor Kliuka got injured, with a score of 3-0 (25:20, 25:20, 25:23).
Dinamo Moscow took the bronze medal.
About formula itself, four teams played seven games in nine days, while participants of medal matches played eight games in 11 days.
Some clubs reported that their players have received many microtraumas due to such a serious rhythm, which will now have to be healed, and Russian media openly asked federation why the volleyball tournament of the Spartakiad was driven into such a tight time frame. They added that if in the future it becomes traditional, then the format must be changed to a more gentle one.