Finland, Azerbaijan and Croatia, topped their divisions in the Special Olympics Unified Volleyball Tournament – 2013 Istanbul.
Ten Unified Volleyball teams with athletes with and without intellectual disabilities competing on the same team, battled it out in Istanbul’s beautiful "Volley Arena" and "50 Yil" halls from June 20 to 22nd.
After observations matches which took place on Thursday, 10 teams were divisioned into three groups according to their ability level (4+3+3). The finals then took place on the June 21st and 22nd. Following exciting and fair play matches, the winners of the respective divisions were Finland, Azerbaijan and Croatia.
For Austrian teammate Charlie, making it to the final did not disappoint: "Before joining the Special Olympics, I never had contact with people with intellectual disabilities. It's great that thanks the Unified Team I can experience something new just by doing something I like to do - playing volleyball".
Many distinguished guests joined the athletes and team mates all over the world to celebrate the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics European Unified Volleyball and Traditional Basketball Tournament which took place in Istanbul the same weekend.
Players from top GalatasaraySk VIP Basketball and Volleyball club, including national Turkey team basketball stars Goksenin Kösal and Sertaç Şanil, attended and were joined by Honorary Chair of Special Olympics Turkey, Dilek Sabanci, Aydemir Karaer, President of Special Olympics Turkey, Hasan Ekmen, Vice President of the Municipality of Uskudor, Mustafa Eksi, Vice President of the Turkish Volleyball Federation and Mary Davis, President of Special Olympics Europe Eurasia.