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01/04/2015 15:00
Champions League trophy only one missing for Neslihan
2015 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League - Women

Istanbul, Turkey, April 1, 2015.  There are only three days to go to the start of the Final Four of the 2015 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League - Women in Poland.  As preparations are going with full force at Eczacibaşi VitrA ISTANBUL, the “Iron Lady” Neslihan Demir pinpoints the target: “The only trophy that is missing in my career is the Champions League trophy!”

One of the most decorated female athletes of Turkey is Neslihan Demir.  The 32-year-old opposite of Eczacibaşi VitrA is getting ready to play at the Final Four in Szczecin with her team and is very excited for the opportunity to complete her cup collection.  Dubbed the “Iron Fist” during her career in Spain and now referred to as the “Iron Lady” in Turkey, Neslihan gave an interview during a short break from training.

You will once again play against a familiar team, VakifBank ISTANBUL, at the Final Four.  What would you like to say about that?

“Last year we had the same match at the Final Four in Baku.  This year, it is a bit different because there are new players on both teams.  I think all the new players have been doing very well for their new teams until now and so this year, there will be two different teams on the court.  This one is like an early final.  But Chemik POLICE and Unendo Yamamay BUSTO ARSIZIO are also very good teams.  Especially Chemik has a good advantage because it is playing at home.  However, I hope we will be the winners in the end.  I am ready to give everything for my team.”

You have countless achievements in your career, but the Champions League trophy is missing…

“That’s right, this trophy is still missing.  I hope I will be able to help add this one to our club’s trophy showcase as well as into my own honours list.”

This season we see you defending and receiving more on the court?

“At the start of the season, I told our new head coach Giovanni Caprara that I am confident about receiving too and he was very happy.  Then he started to adapt me into the defence.  The girls call me ‘sweeper’ now.  I receive serves, defend and do new things I was not doing for the past 15-16 years.”

You reached the Final Four after a golden set in Zurich.  How stressful was that for you?

“I aged an extra 10 years during that match.  We could not make nice photos at the end of the game because we cried for half an hour after the match.  It was a psychological war.  But winning the golden set gives us more confidence and it improves the team.  We never lost hope, but I thought ‘what are we going to do now?’, when we fell 1-5 behind in that golden set.”

At the start of the season you set a season’s goal for all three cups.  How realistic is it?

“All teams want to win all available cups for sure.  It is a physical as well as a psychological war.  I think it is a realistic target.  We can win all available cups.”

You were not in the national team last summer because of your injury.  Is it over yet?

“It is not completely over yet.  I am not as strong as I was before.  But as I said, I am trying to help the team in the defence.  It is my shoulder and some of the pain is still there.  I cannot open my shoulder completely.  But I never consider an operation.  It is too risky.”

Click here for the official website of the Final Four in Szczecin and follow the event on facebook.com/FinalFourCEV2015 and twitter.com/Final4CEV2015.

Click here for more detailed info on the competition.

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