Vienna, Austria. The players of the Austrian women’s national team have returned to practice, doing so two weeks after their men’s colleagues reconvened earlier this month. They too are now working at the VIVA Sports Centre in Steinbrunn to prepare for the EuroVolley 2021 qualifiers. The first camp under the newly appointed head coach Jan De Brandt started on Monday with a coronavirus test for all 24 players and the staff. Things will get going on Tuesday after receiving the relevant results. The first summer training camp will last until July 25.
The men’s national team is currently in Steinbrunn as well, but practicing in another hall. The players are staying in different buildings as well. Moreover, the VIVA Sports Centre provides the women’s national team with a separate weight room.
The EuroVolley 2021 qualifiers involving Austria, Greece, Spain and Norway are due to take place later this summer. However, depending on the way the pandemic evolves across Europe and on the measures adopted by the respective national authorities, the CEV may have to push some of these matches back to early January of 2021.
Head coach Jan De Brandt: “I am really looking forward to getting to know the players and starting to work. The first training camp is of course also about bringing the team closer to my working style and approach. I hope that despite the coronavirus restrictions, we can train normally. I will do my best to achieve my goals. It is of course a big goal to play a successful EuroVolley qualification.”
Gernot Leitner, President of the Austrian Volleyball Federation (ÖVV): “Finally, our women are also starting training. In these corona times, the ÖVV sees itself as responsible for providing its players with top training conditions. With Jan De Brandt, we have brought an internationally renowned expert to the position of head coach, with the resulting expectations. In the first phase of this training camp, it will be a matter of ensuring that the coaching team, the more established players and our young athletes develop the right chemistry as quickly as possible.”
ÖVV Sports Director Gottfried Rath: “It is a special feeling, a special spirit here at the VIVA Sports Centre in Steinbrunn. For the first time, men and women are here at the same time. The new head coaches are very motivated. Because of the anti-coronavirus measures, we have devised plans so that the two teams cannot cross each other. We are very concerned about safety, and we do everything we can to minimise the risk of infection. It is great to see how motivated everyone is.”
Team captain Sophie Wallner: “We are very happy that the sport is back, and Volleyball training can finally take place again and we are already looking forward to working with the new coaching team.”
Setter Anna Bajde: “I am really excited. After all, we have not seen each other for a very long time. There is still a lot to do before qualifying for the European Championship. I am highly motivated!”