Russia defeated tournament favourite Brazil in five sets on Thursday to win the women's volleyball world championship. Ekaterina Gamova scored a match-high 28 points and Lioubov Shashkova followed with 19, helping Russia to a 15-25, 25-23, 25-18, 20-25, 15-13 win in the final.
It is the first time Russia has won the women's world title since the then-Soviet Union won in 1990. The Soviets also won in 1952, 1956, 1960 and 1970.
It means a lot because this is the first gold medal for Russia after three bronze medals," said captain Natalia Safranova. "After we became Russia we did not win the title, but now we have the gold medal again. That is very important for us."
The 2.02-meter Ekaterina scored the match winner as the Russians rallied from 13-12 down to avenge their loss to Brazil in the World Grand Prix final this past summer. The Brazilian women were seeking their first-ever world championship title.
Russia's Italian-born coach Giovanni Caprara praised his top players.
"We could win this title for the first time in 16 years because we found three players at the highest level: (Elena) Godina, Gamova and Shashkova," Caprara said. "These three players have a very strong motivation, and without strong motivation it is impossible to play well."
In the bronze-medal match, Serbia and Montenegro defeated defending champion Italy by 25-22, 25-22, 25-21.