Youth Continental Cup opens up new horizons for Beach Volleyball in Albania
CEV Youth Beach Volleyball Continental Cup - Zonal Phase
Tirana, Albania, August 28, 2013. Though the country – geographically speaking – is the right place for playing Beach Volleyball, Albania does not participate that often in international competitions. However, this past weekend two boys and two girls represented the so-called Eagles’ Country in the inaugural CEV Youth Beach Volleyball Continental Cup, the event whereby six teams will eventually qualify for the 2014 Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China.
Kristi Martiro/Osman Qepa and Adelajda Bërboti/Medlina Shahini are the players who this past Saturday and Sunday played for Albania in Rhodes, Greece, the venue of Pool G.
This was substantially their international debut even though they had previously participated in Balkan competitions. Since they lack experience and did not have much time to prepare, their results were not that good and they lost all of their matches in straight sets. “The girls were having their real international debut and felt very nervous even though two weeks ago they were among the teams that had participated in the Balkan U20 Championship held in Tirana” explains their coach Josif Rrudho. “However, this tournament was a totally different experience and they felt some pressure. We did our best there and I think this was a very useful experience for the girls and for me as a coach too. We would like to thank our Federation for this opportunity that we were given and we hope to continue competing on the international stage. This was just the start and hopefully with some more matches the girls will get the experience they need to improve on their results and start winning games” he continues. “We come from a very small city named Divjaka which is located almost right by the beach and so Beach Volleyball is the right sport for us”.
The boys – both natives of Tirana – were playing their first tournament together. They normally play with different partners but this did not prevent Kristi Martiro and Osman Qepa from showing a good performance in Rhodes. They also had previously participated in the U20 Balkan Champs in Tirana but the Youth Continental Cup was something different and very special. “We played teams from other regions and not exclusively from the Balkans and the level was very high there” says Martiro. “We also felt the responsibility of representing our country in this competition. I think that in the end we played a couple of good matches and did our best”. “Rhodes was a totally different environment, something we are not used to and the organization of the tournament was very professional” Osman Qepa adds. “It was a great experience for I played for the very first time abroad and that was also my first international tournament. I tried to take some useful lessons from the U20 Balkan Championship held in Tirana so as to profit from this first experience for the matches we were going to play in Greece. I hope we will be given the chance to participate in other international tournaments and I am sure our results will be then much better than what we were able to achieve in Rhodes”.
“This summer we did quite many things as our young boys and girls participated in the Youth Continental Cup and we also hosted the U20 Balkan Championship here in Tirana” stresses Leonard Tase, Secretary General of the Albanian Volleyball Federation. “Even though we have very limited financial resources, by sticking all together we are doing our best to promote Beach Volleyball in Albania”.
Picture: Kristi Martiro and Osman Qepa - together with heir opponents from Cyprus, Charalampos Zorpis and Georgios Chrysostomou - showing the diplomas they received at the end of their participation in the CEV Youth Continental Cup - Zonal Phase tournament in Rhodes