Maja Ognjenovic (right) and Ana Bjelica training in Belgrade (photo: ossrb.org)
Belgrade, Serbia, June 5, 2020 – After a long break imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, the reigning world and European champions are back in training. The national federation of Serbia has called up 40 players to give them a chance to get together, work on fitness and prepare for the next club season.
“I needed to rest a little bit because our rhythm has been very intense over the years, but now we have had maybe too much off-time. So we were very anxious to resume our trainings. I missed volleyball and my teammates,” said setter and team captain Maja Ognjenovic, who is among the 16 main players called to a camp in Belgrade. “Our federation gave us a phenomenal opportunity to work both at the gym and on the court with our national team staff. This way we will go to our clubs already in shape to continue preparing for the upcoming season. So I imagine our clubs will be satisfied too. Next year will be tough, for sure, but our motivation to compete at the highest level and ultimately reach our goals will prevail, no doubt. We will have three very important competitions, but of course, the Olympic Games will be the peak of our efforts, and we will try to be at our best in Tokyo.”
The 14 players at the camp in Belgrade (photo: ossrb.org)
Since the start of this training period on June 1, 14 athletes have been working in the Serbian capital under the supervision of assistant coach Aleksandar Vladisavljev, with Bojana Drca and Bojana Milenkovic joining their teammates later. At the same time, another 24 players are in twice-a-day training in the town of Ub under the watchful eye of head coach Zoran Terzic.
“We really missed each other. I was confined to the house in Italy for two months, so I need this time with my friends and teammates. Now that we are together I think it will be even better than before,” said middle blocker Mina Popovic.
In addition to winning gold at the 2018 FIVB Volleyball World Championship and the last two editions of the CEV European Championship in 2017 and 2019, Zoran Terzic’s squad reached the final of the Rio 2016 Games and added an Olympic silver to their impressive record. Their next goal is, of course, to build up to and top the podium at the Tokyo Olympics set to take place in 2021.
Brankica Mihajlovic (photo: ossrb.org)
“We found ourselves in a very particular situation for the whole world and it was really tough. But I can say that I put everything behind and I am completely focused on our future tasks,” commented Serbia’s leading outside hitter Brankica Mihajlovic. “Even though we will not have any competitions this year, it is important for us to stay together for a while and start preparing for the Olympics next year. I am really glad that the federation cares about us and our wellbeing, and they are doing everything to get us in shape.”
“After two and a half months of rest, it is a high time to start training. We rested enough. Of course, we need to start slowly and build our shape once again. We are not in a hurry, there is time for everything and we are very enthusiastic,” added outside Bianka Busa.
List of 16 players at the camp in Belgrade
Setters: Bojana Drca, Maja Ognjenovic, Sladjana Mirkovic
Opposites: Ana Bjelica, Tijana Boskovic
Outside hitters: Bjanka Busa, Bojana Milenkovic, Brankica Mihajlovic, Jelena Blagojevic, Katarina Lazovic, Sara Lozo
Middle blockers: Maja Aleksic, Milena Rasic, Mina Popovic, Stefana Veljkovic
Libero: Teodora Pusic
List of 24 players at the camp in Ub
Setters: Ana Jaksic, Andjela Veselinovic, Andrea Tisma, Nina Mandovic
Opposites: Sara Caric, Tara Taubner, Vanja Bukilic, Vanja Savic
Outside hitters: Aleksandra Uzelac, Ana Pejicic, Barbara Batinic, Isidora Kockarevic, Jovana Cirkovic, Jovana Cvetkovic, Milica Tasic, Mina Mijatovic, Sara Marinkovic, Sonja Danilovic
Middle blockers: Hena Kurtagic, Jelena Delic, Jovana Kocic, Minja Osmajic
Liberos: Bojana Gocanin, Sanja Durdevic
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