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16/01/2017 12:25
Stars in the making – 16-year-old Aleksandra Milanova
2017 CEV U18 Volleyball European Championship - Women

Sofia, Bulgaria, January 16, 2017. Can you be a rising Volleyball star at the age of 16? This sounds quite pretentious but Aleksandra Milanova seems to have the right assets for that. She is not only the captain of Bulgaria U18 women’s national team. She is also their charismatic leader, top scorer and the best outside spiker of the young ‘Lionesses’ that this past weekend qualified to the Final Round of their respective age-group European Championship.

Any coach would like to have such a player in his team. Milanova scored 41 points in the three matches that Bulgaria contested on home soil in Sofia, beating Belgium, Austria and Switzerland to top the charts in Pool H. She was always the preferred choice of the Bulgarian setters in the most difficult moments and she never failed to live up to their expectations.

“We played a great match and we showed what we are capable of. I feel awesome,” Milanova said after routing Belgium 3-0. She started playing at the age of 11 for Slaviya SOFIA and only five years later, she has already contested two European Championships.

Back in 2015, she was a member of the Bulgarian national team at the U18 European Championship that the Balkan country hosted in Plovdiv and Samokov – and Milanova at the time was almost four years younger than most of the players competing there. Last year, she was a member of the U19 team that finished in eight place at the European Championship held in Györ (Hungary) and Nitra (Slovakia), playing a key role in her team’s success.

“If five years ago somebody had told me that I would have played at two European Championship with one more to follow later this year before I turn 17, I would not have believed him! It really feels great! Any big tournament is important to gain experience and this is what you need if you want to become a great player,” Milanova says.

In early January, she also contested the first round of qualifications to the FIVB Women’s U20 World Championship – and Bulgaria successfully made it through to the next stage of the competition there as well. Milanova is not afraid of playing too many matches, on the contrary. “As for my free time, I do not do anything special. I just rest because actually I do not have so much free time. I spend a lot of time training with my club or with the national teams.”

“My biggest dream is to become a great Volleyball player,” she concludes. Though she is only 16, one thing is for sure – for her coaches and teammates, she is already a dream captain and player.

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