The Bulgarian national team training camp gets underway (photo: start-photo.bg)
Plovdiv, Bulgaria, June 18, 2020 – Twenty-one of the 24 players on this summer’s Bulgarian women's national team roster are already in training for next year’s competitions.
Earlier this week, the Lionesses started a training camp in Plovdiv with a composition that includes both experienced players and some six newcomers. Three of the big stars of the team – Elitsa Vasileva, Eva Yaneva and Hristina Vuchkova – will join their teammates over the next couple of weeks.
Head coach Ivan Petkov wants to see the condition his players are in after the coronavirus lockdown and start shaping up the squad set to battle for re-admission to the FIVB Volleyball Nations League and to co-host the CEV European Championship in 2021.
“We have a long preparation period ahead of us. It is a good time to see some of the younger players in action and give them an inside feel of the national team atmosphere,” Petkov said. “I also hope we get to play some friendly games in August, maybe even a friendly tournament to take place in Bulgaria. I want to thank the Bulgarian federation for giving us this opportunity to lay the foundations for next year’s season.”
“We got to miss volleyball too much. We missed being active and now we are happy to be together in training again,” added setter Lora Kitipova, who spent the last club season with Maritza Plovdiv before transferring to Ukraine’s frontrunner Prometey Kamianske. “It will be a bit hard at the beginning, with all the physical work we need to do to get in condition, but I feel like playing and can’t wait to start practising with balls.”
Opposite Emiliya Dimitrova is another athlete who recently triumphed with the Bulgarian title and had a fabulous season in the CEV Champions League as a player of Maritza, after which she transferred to Turkey’s PTT Spor Ankara. She skipped the last two seasons with the national team because of maternity leave and was quite excited to rejoin the Lionesses.
“In my tenth year with the national team I almost feel like a rookie again,” she joked. “I am feeling well and I am extremely happy that we are reunited for an opportunity to practise, even without any official competitions. During the lockdown I tried to stay in shape in whatever way I could at home, as I knew it would not last forever. For me, it is very important to be back, to be healthy and to resume playing. I really feel like playing and look forward to wearing the national team jersey and competing for Bulgaria again.”
“We all feel a great desire to train, although it will be hard until we get rolling again,” commented outside hitter Gergana Dimitrova, who recently moved from PTT Spor to Romania’s CSM Targoviste. “It is great that this camp was organized, so we can start working on finding cohesion with the new girls. I was a rookie myself once, so I am going to help them blend in.”
Complete Bulgarian national team roster
Aleksandra Georgieva, Aleksandra Milanova, Borislava Saykova, Dima Usheva, Elitsa Vasileva, Emiliya Dimitrova, Eva Yaneva, Galina Karabasheva, Gergana Dimitrova, Hristina Vuchkova, Kremena Kamenova, Lora Kitipova, Lora Slavcheva, Mariya Krivoshiyska, Mariya Yordanova, Mila Pashkuleva, Mira Todorova, Miroslava Paskova, Monika Krasteva, Nasya Dimitrova, Petya Barakova, Polina Neykova, Silvana Chausheva, Zhana Todorova
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