Zagreb, Croatia. The first stop of the Croatian Beach Volleyball League held in Zagreb featured many exciting matches and it very much looks like the competition will provide the right share of engagement, drama and entertainment until the very end. Teams from eight clubs joined the women’s and men’s competition on the sandy courts at Lake Jarun, thus accounting for as many as 112 matches played throughout the weekend. After the event in Zagreb, KOP Siget and KOP Opatija top the respective charts for women and men.
“Under normal circumstances, individual championships are taking place every summer in addition to the club championship, but because of the coronavirus crisis, everything has changed and this year we have received a great interest in the club championship. We have two or three clubs that stand out from the others, and the first matches in Zagreb show that it will be an exciting fight for the championship title,” said Tomislav Karaula, who runs the competition for the Croatian Volleyball Association (HOS). “It was hellishly hot in Zagreb, it is certainly 35-40 degrees on the court. We are satisfied with the players who adhere to social distancing and all other prescribed measures, I would like to emphasise and praise that.”
It is the 15th straight edition of the event. In Zagreb, KOP Siget, KOP Žnjan, HAOK Žal Banjole (Pula), KOP ?akovec, KOP Opatija, KOP Retfala, ŽKOP Jarun and AOK Osijek featured in the women’s competition. With six victories in seven matches and 13 points, KOP Siget, one of the event favourites, secured the provisional first place.
“We have high expectations from the Croatian championship this summer because we compete in many age categories. We had good results last year and we expect very much the same this year as well. As for the senior championship, we are always among the top three teams, so we want to confirm that position this summer too,” said Erika Drviš from HAOK Žal Banjole.
The men’s competition featured the teams representing KOP Opatija, KOP Siget, KOP Zagreb, KOP Žnjan, KOP ?azma, KOP Retfala (Osijek), KOP ?akovec and HAOK Žal Banjole (Pula).
“The coronavirus disrupted our plans a lot, with the cancellation of all individual tournaments in Croatia. I play for KOP Opatija here, we are quite weakened because otherwise players from Serbia and one from Slovenia would compose our team, but they could not join us because of the pandemic, so there are only four of us here. Anyway, I expect good volleyball in the championship, there are good teams here and I do not remember when more teams registered for participation, so anything can happen!” said Filip Sili? from KOP Opatija, which took first place in Zagreb, winning 13 points in seven matches.
After the first stop in Zagreb, the championship continues in Pula on July 11 and 12, and the winners will emerge after the finals, which will be taking place in Podstrana (Split) on July 25 and 26. In addition to the club championship, the Croatian National Championship for juniors under the age of 18 will be held in Split, from July 3 to 5. The Club Championship for junior players includes three stops (Zagreb, July 17-19; Split, August 21-23; Pula, August 28-30) while the Croatian Club Cup will run in Zagreb from August 14 to 16.