Slovenia’s star Iza Mlakar announces retirement to focus on studying medicine

Source: CEV. One of the best Slovenian Volleyball players and long-time Slovenian national team member Iza Mlakar has announced her retirement from competitive sport. The 24-year-old player from Carinthia region, who has proven herself in both the club and national team jerseys, will devote herself to studying medicine.

Mlakar, born in Slovenj Gradec, started her Volleyball career at the Prevalje Volleyball Club and moved to Nova KBM Branik MARIBOR ahead of the 2012-2013 season, at the age of only 16. Already in her first season with Nova KBM Branik, she won gold in the MEVZA League and claimed the Slovenian national championship title. The club placed as many as eleven trophies, i.e. five national league and four Slovenian cup titles as well as two MEVZA crowns in their showcase until Mlakar’s departure.

After the end of the last season, the excellent Slovenian opposite accepted a dream offer and moved from the Styrian capital to the strongest league in the world, the Italian A1. She defended the colours of the Italian and European club champions, Igor Gorgonzola Volley. With the team from Novara, she played in the elite CEV Champions League and competed at the World Club Championship in Shaoxing, China. 

Mlakar left a big mark in 2017, at the FIVB U23 World Championship in Ljubljana, where Slovenia won a silver medal and achieved the greatest success in Slovenian women’s team sports. Mlakar received the award for the Best Opposite of that championship.

Iza wore the jersey of the Slovenian national team for the first time at the age of seventeen, in a match against Greece played at the Mediterranean Games in Mersin, Turkey, in 2013. She was a member of the team that recorded Slovenia’s first appearance at the European Championship in 2015. Last year, at the CEV EuroVolley 2019 in Poland, the Slovenians reached two important milestones in women’s Volleyball – i.e. the first victory in the final stage of the European Championship, and the first appearance in the elimination phase of the competition. The match against Germany in the eighth-finals of the tournament in ?ódz was the last in which Mlakar played for the national team for which she collected 48 appearances and scored as many as 659 points. 

“It was a great honour for me to be a part of this beautiful sport, which enriched my life in all aspects. I met many people who have left a mark on my Volleyball and personal life. It was always a great honour to play for the Slovenian national team and my greatest privilege, from the moment I was first called up to the U17 team until the 2019 European Championship when I last wore the national team jersey. I would like to thank all the coaches of the national teams, the management, the Volleyball Federation of Slovenia, and especially my family and friends who supported me all along. All emotions and beautiful memories will stay with me forever,” Mlakar said. 

“Slovenian women’s Volleyball has lost one of the strongest pillars of the national team, but I am convinced that the successes achieved by Iza will be a signpost to all future generations of young Volleyball players. Complete dedication to the sport was her virtue and we are sure that it will be the same on her new life path. On behalf of the Volleyball Federation of Slovenia and all members of the Slovenian Volleyball family, I would like to thank Iza for everything she has done for the development of Slovenian Volleyball and its success,” said the Secretary General of the Volleyball Federation of Slovenia, Gregor Humerca.

Sources:
CEV – European Volleyball
OZS – Volleyball Federation of Slovenia

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