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11/04/2020 12:00
“Think positive and make good use of this time” – Igor Kobzar

Luxembourg, April 11, 2020. Igor Kobzar is a very charismatic player and the Russian setter has been highly instrumental towards the historic achievements celebrated by Kuzbass KEMEROVO in recent times. The Siberian team emerged as the sensational winners of the Russian national league last year and this season made their debut in the CEV Champions League, reaching the semis before the coronavirus pandemic imposed a stop to all sporting events across the globe.  

“Under the current circumstances, I try to spend my time in a way that can be somehow beneficial. It is not always possible to have quality time with the family during the season and during holidays as well, so now we spend a lot of time together. After the stop to all competitions, I went back to my hometown, Tyumen. My wife’s parents have a summerhouse, so we help them with some work there and with gardening. We work together and we use the time to talk to each other more than we usually do,” Kobzar recounts.

The Russian Volleyball Federation decided in late March to cancel the playoffs of the national league, with Lokomotiv NOVOSIBIRSK crowned as the national champions after topping the charts at the end of the regular season. “Of course, we were upset that it became impossible to bring the championship to its logical conclusion. I think we had good chances to perform better than we had done during the regular season but the biggest disappointment is that we could not contest the most intense, interesting, useful games where you can gain invaluable experience,” Igor continues.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics, on the other hand, will be taking place in the summer of 2021 and this is where Igor hopes to make his second Olympic appearance after wearing the shirt of the Russian national team at Rio 2016. “I think that postponing the Games was the right decision, because many athletes were afraid to go to the Olympics. We did not know if the virus was going to be under control by the summer and the fans were even more afraid to go. The Olympics would not have turned out to be the real celebration of sport they are. Therefore, this is a logical decision, and, on top of this, we will have one more year to prepare and gain experience that will actually help us during the Olympic Games,” Igor acknowledges.

“The Olympics is the most important tournament for me and for many other athletes too. I went to my first Olympics in Rio thinking that it was the fulfilment of a dream. Now, of course, my ambitions have grown, and I want to show a good performance and achieve a good result,” Kobzar continues. “I am also upset that the Champions League had to stop, because I wanted to play more international matches with strong teams from other leagues and to prove ourselves on the international stage, while testing my level and my strength. A distinctive feature of the Champions League is that all teams are strong, and all have the same winning mind-set. This is why you call it the Champions League, thus the feeling of the competition is much more intense. Making it to the semis in our first participation is a good result,” the setter adds.

“To all fans, I would like to say that you should not neglect the recommendations and help the authorities so that the virus does not spread any further. Stay isolated as much as possible and stay at home, do not meet your friends and relatives during the epidemic,” Igor warns. “Obviously, I wish everyone good health and I wish you can spend this time beneficially - clean your apartments, clear your mind, spend time with your families in a productive manner. Sometimes we do not have enough time to talk at home, now there is plenty of it. Therefore, you need to think positive and try to make good use of this time,” he concludes.

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