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07/05/2013 14:00
Spain and host Serbia the top contenders in Ivanjica for sole ticket to men's junior worlds
2013 FIVB Volleyball Men's U21 World Championship - European Qualification

Ivanjica, Serbia, May 7, 2013. Six teams are set to embark on their quest for making it to the 2013 FIVB Volleyball Men’s U21 World Championship scheduled for later this summer in Ankara and Izmir via the qualification tournament that is set to run through May 7-11 in Arilje, Serbia. The hosts of Serbia will be playing the 2012 European silver medallists of Spain, plus Croatia, the Czech Republic, Finland and Slovakia as they try to clinch the sole ticket at stake to qualify for the World Champs.
With the tournament starting on Tuesday afternoon, a Technical Meeting was held on Monday night at Hotel Park in Ivanjica where the officials and teams received a warm welcome by the Lord Mayor of Ivanjica, Mrs. Nevenka Milosevic: “We are really honoured to host a qualifying event to the men’s junior World Championship in our city. I am sure that every team will be playing its best on the court and we will understandably cheer on our Serbian players. The best team will eventually end up on top of the standing but I also hope that everyone will be leaving Ivanjica and Serbia with fond memories of our hospitality. Anyone who comes to our city and enjoys Ivanjica will certainly come back once more” she said.  

After the intervention by the Mayor, the Technical Meeting continued with CEV Technical Delegate Inara Brokane and CEV Referee Delegate Gennady Zharikov briefing the teams about practical info as well as some changes in the rules of the game. The Technical Director of the Volleyball Federation of Serbia, Dragutin Cuk, was also in attendance and added a few words on behalf of the local Organizing Committee.    

After that the head coaches of the six participating teams shared their expectations about the tournament. “We came here without any single day of preparation but we do not want to search for excuses” Croatia’s mentor Mirolad Krunic said. “We want to deliver a good performance and win the tournament, that’s why we are here”.

“We have travelled to Ivanjica with a roster of junior and youth players” Miroslav Palgut, the head coach of Slovakia’s national team, adds. “We will try to qualify for the World Champs but our highest priority remains the final round of the Junior European Championship that our country will co-host next year with the Czech Republic. We want to prepare a good team for this”.

“Spain and Serbia are evidently the top contenders for this ticket to the World Champs but we are ready to challenge these sides though it will be difficult because one of our best players is injured and can’t play here” Finland’s mentor Pekka Lahtinen stresses. “We will do our best but we can’t make any promise that in the end we’ll be the ones standing on top of the table”.

“We know that our chances are very slim in this tournament but we want to show some good Volleyball, that’s all” Czech head coach Petr Juda says.

“This is going to be a very difficult tournament. We may call it “the death group” as here we have the gold and silver medallists from the FIVB Youth World Championship held two years ago in Argentina. Our goal is evidently to make it to the Worlds but it won’t be easy” Spain’s head coach Ricardo Maldonado points out.   

To round it out, Serbia’s mentor Sinisa Reljic says: “This is the toughest Pool, for sure. We have been preparing well for this tournament and we play at home, so this is a good boost of confidence. Our goal is clear: we want to qualify for the World Championship and we’ll be doing our best to make it there”.  

Click here for a detailed match schedule of the tournament coming up in Ivanjica

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