Lausanne, Switzerland, November 5, 2015 - The volleyball family is in mourning, after the sad news that Marina Pankova (nee Nikoulina), one of the greatest legends of Soviet and Russian volleyball, passed away at the age of 52.
Born on 3 March 1963, she began her playing volleyball at the age of 12 in her home town of Bratsk, before transferring to the regional center of Irkutsk. In 1985 she moved to Sverdolovsk (now Ekaterinburg), but later also played in Spain for Murcia. Marina was first selected for the USSR National Team in 1987 and competed through the transformation of the Soviet Union team to CIS/Unified Team and then Russia.
Originally an opposite, Marina turned into a setter later in her career, even being named Best Setter of the 1991 European Championship in Rome.
But perhaps more importantly than her impressive roll of honour, Nikoulina-Pankova was the mother of a great volleyball dynasty with her husband Vadim. Vadim is the coach of Zarechie Odintsovo currently in the top Russian league and in the CEV Challenge Cup.
Their daughter Ekaterina Kosianenko, 25, is a two-time European champion as setter of the Russian National Team. And their son Pavel Pankov, 20, was on the Russian National Teams that won the FIVB U21 and U23 World Championship gold medals this year.