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16/08/2019 22:00
The rise of Slovenia’s Štern brothers
CEV EuroVolley 2019 Men

Ljubljana, Slovenia, August 16, 2019. There are not many national Volleyball teams around the world, who can be proud of such a young, perspective duo consisting of equally talented siblings. Žiga Štern, 25, and Tonček Štern, 23, are well-known national team players, and especially the younger one is the rising star in these weeks, as he has become the starting opposite spiker of Slovenia.

A decade or so ago, it was only a matter of time which of the two popular sports in Slovenia the Štern brothers, who come from Slovenska Bistrica, a very sports-enthusiastic environment in the north-east of Slovenia, would choose. Their grandfather Anton was successful in judo, as was their father Anton, who, however, opted for Volleyball in his mature years. Tonček and Žiga also fluctuated a bit between judo and Volleyball. “At that time, our father played Volleyball in Slovenia’s first division team in Slovenska Bistrica, and because we grew quite tall, we decided to dedicate ourselves more intensively to this beautiful sport. Our dad encouraged us of course; he was a mentor and a coach. In fact, he still continues playing that role,” the Štern brothers say in one voice.

For three seasons, Žiga and Tonček were teammates at Calcit Volley KAMNIK, and they joined forces last year in Italy (Top Volley LATINA) for half a year, too. “Our father still helps us a lot, he is following almost all of our matches, and the Olympic qualifiers in Gdansk, Poland, were not an exception. He is watching all National team matches, and he came to Latina many times, too. He is our biggest critic and supporter. If you have him, you do not need a computer for statistics, he remembers everything,” says Žiga, the outside hitter, who is happy with his brother’s important role in Slovenia’s jersey. “Tonček is really in shape at the moment and I am happy for him. Although on the court I see him as a teammate, not as a brother, he is just one of the team members. Having a brother on the same team is both a plus and a minus. Having him now in the National team is definitely a big plus. Not only for me, but for the whole of Slovenia,” the elder Štern commented on the younger brother’s role.

Žiga signing autographs for young fans in Ljubljana.

Tonček has scored the most points for Slovenia in recent matches. He was in top form in the domestic FIVB Challenger Cup and the Olympic qualifications in Poland, where Slovenia did not manage to qualify for Tokyo 2020. “We had nothing to lose in such a difficult group with France and Poland, unfortunately, both were realistically better than us. I believe that we will be performing better in January in the second round of qualifiers. All our thoughts are now focused on EuroVolley 2019,” says Tonček, who, like Žiga, wore a Latina jersey in Italy last season, where he will not continue his career.

“There is nothing concrete about my new club so far and the same applies to my brother,” added the first spiker of Slovenia. The Štern brothers are convinced that the most beautiful Volleyball weeks in Slovenia are coming right now in September. “You play the European Championship in front of a home crowd probably only once in your career. I am really looking forward to playing in Ljubljana, I expect a lot of support, also from our hometown Slovenska Bistrica,” Tonček said and Žiga added, “If we have a good day, it is really difficult for anyone to beat us. I hope for many good days at the EuroVolley in Ljubljana. With the support of full stands, this will be easier. I cannot wait for it to start!”

For further information, visit the official event website

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