Even while volleyball originated in the distant land of America, it has been over 60 years since this popular game was adopted in Azerbaijan and started to attract more and more people every year. In the 1930's our volleyball's level was highly recognized in the former USSR. Among the athletes defending the honor of our sport in those years were volleyball players Boyukkishi Muradov and Ivan Dyachkov. Ivan Dyachkov played the key role in the development of Azerbaijani volleyball in 1946-1947 years. Under his supervision, Azerbaijani men's volleyball team frequently gained victories in the 1950's. With the boost of the interest in volleyball n the country in 1950's a number of very strong volleyball players emerged in Azerbaijan. They were drafted to the USSR teams and participated at the European and World Championships. There was an Azerbaijani volleyball player in the staff of the USSR team ranked 3rd at the World Championship in Paris in 1956. Two years later, our volleyball player Ogtay Agayev won the bronze at the European Championship.
In 1957 teams of 16 republics (Karelia being the 16th) as well as Moscow and Leningrad (Saint Petersburg) teams competed against each other at the USSR Cup event. In the final game the Moscow team with 7 members of the USSR team in its staff met the Azerbaijani team. In a very tense struggle our players defeated the Muscovites with the final score of 3:2 and won the Cup. The coach of the Azerbaijani team Ivan Dyachkov worked in Cuba for many years and made great contribution to the development of volleyball in this country.
Coach Shamil Shamkhalov made great efforts for the development of the women's volleyball in Azerbaijan. In 1956 six students of Shamkhalov won the USSR Youths championship. Three years later Shamil muallim went to Moscow with boys' and girls' teams to participate at the All-union School Spartakiad. Both teams won the championship. In 1962 18-years old Inna Riskal was drafted to the USSR team to participate at the World Championship. With the only loss to the Japanese the team ranked 2nd. Inna, who became one of the key players in the USSR team participated in four Olympiads and captured two gold medals and two silver medals.
Another Azerbaijani volleyball player Vera Lantratova won the Olympiad in 1972. Vera Lantratova and Inna Riskal, being members of the USSR team, often participated at the World and European Championships, winning various titles. Inna Riskal was considered one of the three strongest woman volleyball players of the century.
At the beginning of the 1960's two Azerbaijani women's teams, "Neftchi" and "Mahsul" participated at the USSR Championship. In the outstanding year for Azerbaijani sport, 1966, the national women's volleyball team, like our football team, won the USSR Championship bronze medal.
After the appointment to the position of chief coach in 1986 Faig Garayev laid the foundation for the restoration of women's volleyball in Azerbaijan. A year after, our team entered the major league. Ranked 9th in 1989 and 3rd in 1990 the team won its first awards. The women from Baku won the last USSR Championship in 1991.
In 1992-1993 the team participated at European Top-Team Cup competitions as an independent nation's team and took the 2nd place. Azerbaijani team ranked 1st at the 1993 Bulgaria World Championship elimination stage, won the "Bahar" cup in Rumania in 1994, and ranked 9th at the same year's World Championship thus joining the list of the world's 10 strongest women's teams.Azerbaijan was the 3rd team in Europe and 9th in the World! Our team finished that World Championship in front of the teams like Italy,Ukraine,the Netherlands,,Peru,Romania.