Zagreb, Croatia. After a very successful start for the Beach Volleyball League last week in Zagreb, Beach Volleyball action continued this past weekend in Croatia with the 2020 edition of the U18 national championships featuring seven men’s and 10 women’s teams. The event held at Podstrana had further significance since the eventual winners would secure the right to represent Croatia at this year’s #EuroBeachVolleyU18 scheduled for late September in Izmir, Turkey.
Marko Repek/Mario Jurkovic and Ema Mrkic/Ana Šverko were the eventual winners of the men’s and women’s competition, respectively.
“It is very important that we have been able to deliver such a tournament for the younger players in order to increase the number of young athletes who want to play Beach Volleyball at the highest level. This tournament was a great opportunity for everyone to try and to compete for the spot available to represent Croatia at the upcoming U18 European Championship. Everyone had an equal chance to show their skills on the beach. Despite the COVID-19 situation, a large number of teams registered for this Championship, which shows that the interest in Beach Volleyball is increasing every year. I firmly believe that with the hard work of head coach Tomislav Karaula and all the Beach Volleyball Committee, we can once again look forward to a bright future for our young players. This way we can repeat the achievements from some ten years ago, when Nikša Dell’Orco and Mate Glavuric claimed a silver medal from the U18 European Championship,” said the President of the Croatian Beach Volleyball Committee, Frane Žanic.
“The tournament was a great experience! We had the honour to share the court with some exceptional players, so we can only be proud that we managed to earn the spot at the European Championship. I had some problems with an ankle injury, but with the support of my partner Mario, and help from our coaching staff, we managed to play until the end,” said the winner, Marko Repek, who prepared the last spike for his partner Mario Jurkovic in the final against Nikola Jureta and Duje Cvijovic.
In the women’s competition, Ema Mrkic and Ana Šverko won the gold medal, beating the local team Lucijana Terze and Tia Kovco in the final.
“We are so excited and still cannot believe that we have achieved this kind of success. We are really looking forward to playing in Turkey, as we will proudly represent Croatia for the first time in our lives. We can only hope that we will show our love and passion for Beach Volleyball there as well,” HAOK Žal Banjole’s young stars Ana and Ema stated sharing their excitement for winning the gold medal.