Giannelli helped Italy qualify for Tokyo 2020 through the International Olympic Qualification Tournament
Rome, Italy, August 5, 2020 – Simone Giannelli has endured a frustrating few months without volleyball, but the Italian remains resolute in the ambitions for the season ahead.
The 23-year-old setter was expecting to have been playing for Italy at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, where he would have celebrated his 24th birthday on August 9, the day of the men’s gold medal match.
However, with the Games’ postponement, he has had to put off what he intends to be a double celebration of Olympic gold and his 25th birthday a day later.
“Postponing the Olympics was a necessary decision, there’s no way we can dispute that,” Giannelli said in an interview with Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“The postponement for a year doesn’t change our aims in any way though. We are going there to win, that is our focus.
“Still being at the Games on the last day would have been fantastic. I would be celebrating it (his birthday) by playing for the Olympic gold. But we will try to make up for it next year.
“I think it was a decision taken with a heavy heart because it is an event that the whole world watches. I am hopeful it will take place in 2021.”
Giannelli celebrated his 20th birthday at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games, where he helped Italy win silver.
The Bolzano native also won bronze at the CEV 2015 Men’s European Championship and helped Trentino Volley win gold at the Poland 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship.
“Rio 2016 was magic,” he said. “The squad had the desire to capture the imagination of Italy.
The Olympics are not only about the matches. There was the Olympic Village, where you share the Olympic dream with athletes from around the world and from every sport.”
In the absence of any competition Giannelli has been able to fully partake in pre-season preparations with his club and work on taking his game to the next level, while away from the court he has been hard at work completing his degree in Food Sciences.
“There hasn’t been a summer I haven’t been away with the national team since my pre-junior days,” he said. “For the first time I have been able to fully immerse myself in my pre-season preparations.
“It is normal that at 23-years-old I haven’t hit my peak. I am continuing to work and concentrating on my development and growth in and out of the court. I’m working on all aspects of play, those little details that at the top level can help make the difference.”
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