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24/03/2018 14:07
Beach Volleyball pioneer Parenzan shares her thoughts on Snow Volleyball
2018 CEV Snow Volleyball European Championship

Wagrain-Kleinarl, Austria, March 24, 2018. Some 24 years ago, Cristiana Parenzan was among the players competing at the first-ever European Beach Volleyball Championship held in Espinho, Portugal where she won the bronze medal along with Lucilla Perrotta. She was one of those players that you can regard as ‘Beach Volleyball pioneers’ and fast forward to 2018, she made history again with her participation in the inaugural CEV Snow Volleyball European Championship at the age of 48.

“I definitely see a lot of similarities,” she recounts. “Back in those early days for Beach Volleyball, most of us were Volleyball players transitioning to the sand – and actually almost all of us did still play indoors and would play Beach Volleyball in the summer only. I have spoken to a number of the players competing here in Wagrain and this has made me realise that we almost all have a Beach Volleyball background and are trying to adjust our skills to the fact that we play on snow. In this sense, the early days of Snow Volleyball are quite similar to those of Beach Volleyball.”

If these sports are going down the same path, Snow Volleyball should develop at the same fast pace as Beach Volleyball did. “Back in the 90s it all accelerated with Beach Volleyball appearing as a demonstration sport at the Barcelona Olympics and its addition to the official programme four years later in Atlanta. I do believe that Snow Volleyball has the potential to grow – since it provides countries with no indoor facilities to play Beach Volleyball or where you cannot play outdoors in the winter with the opportunity for their players to compete almost all year round,” Parenzan continues. “Another thing you should not underestimate is the feeling you get from competing in such a scenic place as we do here, surrounded by these marvellous snowy peaks.”

Snow Volleyball and Beach Volleyball share something more, in her opinion. “When we first started playing Beach Volleyball and touring the world or Europe, most of us did not have any coach or staff, and the same happens here. However, this somehow stimulates a sense of togetherness and cohesion among the players. If you have a team or a coaching staff, you somehow end up isolating yourself from the others, whilst if you are on your own, you are more likely to spend time with other teams. This is what I enjoyed the most back in the early days of Beach Volleyball and this is what I am experiencing here as well. I spent some time with the players from Slovenia and Czech Republic, and we identified the opportunity to work closer, have camps together, and have invited each other to our respective homes,” Cristiana adds.

Parenzan and partner Tania Ferrazzo surprised many earlier this winter by claiming the top honours from the European Tour stop held in Roccaraso. This way, they qualified for the first-ever #EuroSnowVolley but on Friday they had a tough time with the challenging weather conditions in Wagrain and ended up losing both of their matches in the pool phase to teams from Lithuania and Switzerland. “When it comes to Snow Volleyball, since you play on a surface where you cannot move that fast, it’s all down to the ability to adjust to the conditions but especially to read what your opponent will be doing next. In other words, you have to make them do something which helps you score the point or prevents them from having the opportunity to score,” Parenzan stresses.

Cristiana, who primarily works as a Beach Volleyball coach, is also a two-time medallist from the CEV European Veteran Volleyball Championship held in 2007 and 2009 in Loutraki, Greece. “I am 48 but I feel in good shape and I very much hope to play Snow Volleyball again. I will be moving back to my birthplace later this year, which is close to Roccaraso, so if there is another Snow Volleyball tournament there, I would love to compete again. I have heard many good things also about the tour stops organised in Turkey, so I am hopeful that my own Snow Volleyball journey does not end here.”

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