Ljubljana, Slovenia. International Beach Volleyball competition will return on Thursday in Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana with a World Tour 1-Star event, the first such event to take place after the long break imposed by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Almost 50 teams from 10 countries are eagerly waiting for the opportunity to relive the feeling of competing on the highest level. All matches on the final day (Sunday, August 2) will be streamed live on the CEV’s YouTube channel as well as on EuroVolleyTV.
After a successful winter edition of the MEVZA tournament held in December 2019, players will return to the Sports Park Ludus and Congress Square, a venue that has attracted many players from all over the world in the past years.
“We are happy that sport is back and especially that Beach Volleyball is back. On behalf of the Volleyball Federation of Slovenia, I would like to thank the CEV and FIVB for entrusting us with the organisation of the tournament in the current conditions. This is the first such competition since the outbreak of the pandemic and it will be something new for all of us. We will take into account all the measures recommended by the Slovenian Institute of Public Health and the CEV. We are all very much looking forward to the beginning of the event and I am sure that we will see a real spectacle in Ljubljana again, even if in a slightly different way than we are used to,” commented Gregor Humerca, Secretary General of the Volleyball Federation of Slovenia.
Austria’s top players Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst will be among the favourites in Ljubljana, together with their compatriots Alexander Huber and Christoph Dressler and Italy’s Alex Ranghieri/Daniele Sablone. Home favourites Tadej Boženk and Vid Jakopin will try to defend the gold medal they claimed at last year’s edition of the event and the runners-up Jan Pokeršnik and Nejc Zemljak are excited to play in front of the home crowd too.
“We have been resting a lot in recent months and are now slowly getting back in shape. I am quite sure we will watch good volleyball. Jan and I will try to give our best. Our advantage is certainly that we know each other very well, but on the other hand, we were not quite satisfied with our performances at the national championship, despite the victory. As a sportsman, you want to play every match at the highest possible level, but in the current situation, you cannot have any special expectations. But it will definitely be nice to compete again,” Zemljak is looking forward to the start of the tournament after securing top honours at the Slovenian national championship this past weekend.
In the women’s competition, Martina Bonnerová and Sara Olivova from Czech Republic are the top-seeded pair, followed by Cecilie Køllner Olsen and Sofia Nørager Bisgaard from Denmark and Italy’s Giulia Toti and Agata Zuccarelli. Tjaša Kotnik and Monika Potokar who claimed the Slovenian national championship title this past Saturday have proved to be Slovenia’s strongest duo this summer. “We gained some self-confidence by winning the national title and I hope we will take advantage of that at the tournament in Ljubljana. I hope we will play at least on the same level we did in Kranj. I do not know much about the opponents but I believe that the spectators will witness some high-level Beach Volleyball,” said Potokar.
Although no ranking points will be available at the tournament due to several limitations for teams travelling from abroad, players are highly motivated to test their form and enjoy some competitive Beach Volleyball action.
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