Volleyball and Beach Volleyball activities set to resume in Croatia

Source: CEV. The resumption of competitive sport is still uncertain, but the Croatian national team players have been training every day and are anxiously waiting for the return of their club and national team obligations. 

The Croatian Volleyball Association recently organised a gathering in Zagreb with journalists and young Volleyball talents, where national team members Ema Strunjak, Lea Deak, Božana Butigan, Nikolina Božicevic, Tsimafei Zhukouski, Ivan Raic, Danijel Galic and Marko Sedlacek shared their thoughts on what they have experienced these past months and what lies ahead. 

“At the beginning of the epidemic, it was quite strange and difficult since this situation was new for all of us. The eight of us girls were very lucky because we were together in one building and together we kept fit, trained and followed our programme. It was easier for us because we were not alone during that time,” said Ema Strunjak, who spent the early stages of the epidemic in Perugia, just like the captain of the Croatian men’s national team, Tsimafei Zhukouski: “Our season officially ended on March 10. They declared the championship finished without a winner, and the same happened with the Champions League and national cup. On the first of May, my family and I returned to Croatia and the most important thing is that we are healthy and that we can continue our normal lives!” 

Members of the Croatian national teams returning to action in Zagreb 

Volleyball players are currently training in Zagreb. After a few months without the usual sports commitments, they do not hide the joy of returning to training. “Since I have been in Zagreb, I have been training once a day at Mladost, but starting next week we will start following the old training regime, working twice a day. I am waiting for my preparations to start at my club Volero ZURICH, so I can join them!” said Lea Deak, while Ivan Raic added, “For now, I am mostly working on corrections, i.e. on correcting all the imbalances from the last season. In about two to three weeks, I will start with stronger physical training, focussing on strength, in order to prepare for the next season.” 

Valentina Bifflin announcing the programme of the 2020 Beach Volleyball season 

Volleyball in Croatia will soon take to the beach. The director of the Croatian Volleyball Association, Valentina Bifflin, announced the programme for the coming season: “The championship itself consists of three tournaments in the senior category, three tournaments for younger age categories and the Croatian Cup, which will be taking place from the end of June to the end of August in Zagreb, Split and Pula!”

The national team members themselves briefly exchanged the indoor courts with the sand. On the Beach Volleyball courts in Vrapce, one of the best-equipped venues in Croatia, they played with young hopefuls from KOP Vrapce and Olimpik (see main picture). “Although we love playing indoors, we all really like to play Beach Volleyball during the summer when we have the opportunity to do so. Due to the coronavirus crisis and many cancelled events, we have a lot more time to spend playing Beach Volleyball,” said Nikolina Božicevic while Marko Sedlacek added, “I much prefer indoor Volleyball than Beach Volleyball. These are two different sports, although some claim that it is the same, but there are really many differences.”

Sources:
CEV – European Volleyball
HOS – Croatian Volleyball Federation

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