Turk Hava Yollari Sport Kulubu, or Turkish Airline Sports Club, which sponsors various sports teams and sporting projects, was an important figure in Turkish volleyball from the late 70’s to early 90’s. It featured prominently in Turkish Women’s Volleyball 1st League until it suspended its activities after the 1993-1994 season.
Now, in what club managers are referring to “bringing back the old days”, it has announced in its official website that it will restart its volleyball program, with aims to bring new stars to Turkish volleyball. Just like José Roberto Guimarães’ Barueri and Sérginho’s Corinthians projects in Brazil’s Superliga, however, the team will have to start from the bottom, in Turkey’s third division league, and build its way up to the SULTANLARLiGi, Turkey’s top tier league.
With aims to speed the promotion to top tier league status, Turkish Airlines has announced in its official website the signing of two experienced players: Serbia’s Olymipc silver medalist Jelena Nikolic and Czech Republic’s Aneta Havlickova.
The 35 year old, 6’5″ wing spiker Nikolic is no stranger to Turkey. At the club level, she has played 7 seasons in the country’s SULTANLARLiGi:
2008 – 2014 VakifBank
- 2010-2011 CEV Champions League, “Best Scorer”
- 2011 FIVB Women’s Club World Championship
- 2013 FIVB Women’s Club World Championship
2015 – 2016 Bursa BB
- 2010 European Volleyball League “MVP”
- 2010 European Volleyball League “Best Receiver”
With Serbia’s national team, which she captained during several years, she won the 2009, 2010 (MVP and Best Receiver awards), and 2011 European Leagues, as well as the 2011 European Championships, and silver medals in the 2015 FIVB World Cup and 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
She took to Instagram to announce her signing:
The 6’3″ 30 year old Havlíčková is also no stranger to Turkey, having defended Fenerbahçe’s colors in the 2013-2014 season. She is best know for years in Italy, though, where she shone bright in Serie A1 for Busto Arsizio from 2010 to 2012. She also played a few years in Azerbaijan for Lokomotiv Baku. With Busto Arsizio, she won one Italian Championship and one Italian Cup (both in 2011-2012) and to CEV Cups (2012-12, when she was awarded the MVP award, and 2013-14). She was also considered the best Serie A1 hitter in 2013, 2015, and 2016. With the Czech national team, she won the 2012 European League, being also awarded the MVP award.