Former Czech star Lebl confident of snow volleyball's future
Although he is a national federation delegate, his stellar status is something he cannot escape from. But in Spindleruv Mlyn he was firmly focused on snow volleyball. While he made a successful career in both volleyball and beach volleyball, Lebl is also quite familiar with the snow discipline. He even played snow volleyball three years ago in Wagrain-Kleinarl.
“Since then, the Tour has made huge progress,” he says. “I am very glad it is now an official CEV tour because it’s bringing so many people from different backgrounds that we would not have been able to attract to volleyball before. I think it’s great!”
During his indoor career as a middle blocker, the 2.01m Lebl received several Best Spiker awards at various major international competitions. Now his playing career is over, but he remains involved in sport in an administrative function. About four months ago, he was appointed Head of Beach Volleyball at the Czech Volleyball Federation and, as such, he is also responsible for snow volleyball.
“We are very happy that such a large number of Czech players are taking part here in Spindleruv Mlyn,” Lebl stated. “It really shows that the Czech Republic is a snow country where all snow activities are very popular, so I am really sure that snow volleyball will find its place.
“Domestic snow volleyball competitions in the Czech Republic are still a little too far in the future. What we are focusing on now is to give as much help as we can to the promoters of snow volleyball. We are providing some administrative support and any help we can to make things work.
“Being part of the European Tour is very important to our federation. It provides for great media coverage and shows volleyball in a different environment. As far as a local tour goes, this is something we have to work on. I can see more potential in bringing school kids to take part in this event and trying it out.”
As to whether the snow volleyball event in Spindleruv Mlyn will continue, Lebl says: “The ski resort of Spindleruv Mlyn is very happy with this event. A lot of teams are participating, a lot of people are watching, and we are happy as a federation. So, all the pieces of the puzzle are in place and the show should be going on here in the future as well.”
As for further expansion of the sport, Lebl remains optimistic but realistic: “Unfortunately, all winter games are limited to those countries where conditions for practicing winter sports are available. But within that group of winter sports countries, I think snow volleyball is going to be a big success. I really hope we can see it at the Olympics one day.”
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