Skip Navigation Links
15/04/2016 22:55
Volleyball superstar and truly inspirational figure – Ivan Miljkovic
2016 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League - Men

Krakow, Poland, April 15, 2016. Ivan Miljkovic is an inspirational person. This status has nevertheless very little to do with his impressive Volleyball resume. It actually has a lot more to do with his personality, attitude and professionalism. He simply stands out – in many different ways. 14 years ago Ivan was already one of the leading players of Lube Banca Marche MACERATA as Italy’s heavyweight topped the podium of the CEV Volleyball Champions League in Opole. On Saturday he will be trying to help that same club – now Cucine Lube CIVITANOVA – to edge TRENTINO Diatec in the semis and get the right to play again for the crown of Europe’s elite club competition.

“Yes, it has been 14 years now since we won the Champions League in Opole,” he recounts. “Well, if you ask me what I remember of that Final Four, there are a few things that come to my mind. Our fans travelled by bus for about 22-23 hours to come to Opole and cheer us on and that was the very first time they embarked on such long trip,” Miljkovic says. “I also remember that even though we won the cup, I did not perform that well. And yes, I think we played two teams from Greece in the semis and in the final [Iraklis THESSALONIKI and Olympiacos PIRAEUS, respectively].”

14 years have passed and on Saturday Miljkovic will be playing at the iconic TAURON Arena in Krakow hoping to repeat that same feat. “As I said at today’s press conference, I see that the venues are getting bigger and bigger. However, this is not yet the biggest one you can get in Europe. Kombank Arena in Belgrade can host even more fans. It would be cool to have a Final Four there one day, hoping to repeat the same success of the World League Finals [in 2009] when almost 23,000 people were there to watch us. Who knows, maybe in 15 years I could be the one organising such an event and working behind the scenes,” Miljkovic says picturing himself in a different role and position.

Many things have changed in Volleyball since that victorious Final Four in Opole: “I think the game got a lot faster and there is less emphasis on technical skills,” Miljkovic says. “The players have to mature pretty fast and therefore they have less time to learn and manage a number of technical skills, which are required in this sport. Nowadays it is more of a physical game than it was in the past. On top of this, things have evolved also off the court. A lot more attention is being paid to marketing, communication, etc. This is something that the players also notice and are very well aware of. I have a number of ideas for the future of our sport, but it would take too long to discuss them here and now,” he laughs.

The Serbian-born Volleyball legend is the captain of a star-studded team which includes the likes of accomplished Volleyball stars such as Reid Priddy, Osmany Juantorena and Alessandro Fei, and a number of stars in the making, like for instance Micah Christenson and Jénia Grebennikov. “Though the roster of our team is extremely diverse, I do not think we are a mix of young and experienced players. Even those who are still in their early 20s cannot be seen as young players: they have been recruited by a club such as Lube and they are expected to perform at the highest level, so Volleyball-wise they cannot be called young players because they are not. If they get to play matches like those coming up this weekend or many others that we have contested this season, they are definitely not young. The same happened to myself some years ago: I won the Champions League in my early 20s as well, and at that time I had already won a number of medals with my national team too.”

Having won almost everything a Volleyball player may be longing for, Ivan nevertheless is very clear about his present and immediate future: “I decided to come back to Lube because I thought a player with my resume and background should finish his career at the highest level, the level he has been performing for most of his years in competitive sport. You need this kind of environment for many reasons: you share the high and ambitious goals set by your management, you train and play in an extremely professional environment and you also get the kind of support that a player of my age needs from the medical staff. This comeback definitely has nothing to do with money or any financial advantages.”

Miljkovic has something more to do and to pursue, apart from victories and medals: “I am at the disposal of this club as long as I can contribute to the achievement of their goals and as long as I can be competitive at this level. As soon as I realise that I cannot live up to this, I will stop. On the other hand, I also want to serve as an example for the younger players, inspire and motivate them to work as hard as they can.” This is an ambitious, yet praiseworthy programme. To be continued…

Click here for further information and visit the official website

A live gallery of the competition will be available right here; on social media please use the official competition hashtags #CEVChampionsLeagueM and #CLF4Krakow

News nr. 8344 of 23547
15/04/2016 23:49:00
It’s time for Volleyball to take centre stage in Slovenia! – F4 rookie Tine Urnaut
15/04/2016 19:44:00
Top seeds fall at Xiamen Open
Advanced Search
Open the calendar popup.
Open the calendar popup.
Search for:

Title and navigation
Title and navigation
<<<April 2024><<
April 2024