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25/01/2019 10:00
EuroVolley 2019 Women a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to grow Volleyball in Slovakia
CEV EuroVolley 2019 Women

Luxembourg, January 25, 2019. Slovakia will make history later this year when this country plays host to CEV EuroVolley 2019 Women together with Turkey, Poland and Hungary. This will be the first Volleyball competition of such magnitude to take place in Slovakia and the organisers hope it will inspire many youngsters to follow the sport and play the game.

Tournament Ambassador Adriana Marcekova has an interesting story to tell, since she spent four years in the highly competitive Italian national league some 15 years ago, being the first Slovakian player to do so since the breakup of the former Czechoslovakia. “It was my ultimate dream to play in Italy and I believe this has been the ultimate dream of generations of Volleyball players, not only from Slovakia,” the former middle blocker says. “Some more Slovakian players achieved the same feat in the subsequent years but I was the one that opened that door, so to speak.”

Adriana Marcekova (far right) at the CEV EuroVolley 2019 Women draw together with Edina Dobi, Neslihan Demir Güler and Jelena Nikolic.

Adriana spent two years in Pesaro, and another two seasons in Castelfidardo and Arzano, helping two of these teams move from the second to the highest division of the Italian league. Still very fluent in Italian, she happily shares memories of her time in a Volleyball-mad country. “Since I was very young, I always wanted to go and play in Italy. However, I first went to Germany and was the best middle blocker of the Bundesliga. It was somehow easier for me to find a way to go to Italy by playing somewhere else. Slovakia was not under the spotlight at the time in women’s Volleyball but agents scouted me in Germany and they offered me the opportunity to move to Italy and play there,” says the mother of two boys, who play basketball and soccer, respectively. “It was a dream come true. After four years, I was about to make my debut in the first division when I discovered that I was pregnant with my first child, so I eventually went back to Slovakia before fulfilling my other ultimate dream to play in A1.”

Marcekova started playing Volleyball at the age of 12 and had CEV Vice President and former President of the Slovak Volleyball Federation, Mr Lubor Halanda, as her coach back home in Bratislava. She played for the former Czechoslovakia at the 1992 Junior World Championship in Portugal, where they finished in fourth place, before the Czech Republic and Slovakia ‘parted ways’ to become two different nations. “Sport was always a very important side of life and society in all of the Eastern-bloc countries and the conditions for athletes were generally very good. There was much support from the state and we learned discipline on top of the technical skills.”