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Adis Lagumdzija: Competing in the VNL would be very meaningful

 
Adis Lagumdzija in attack during the European League game against Belgium (photo: CEV)
Ljubljana, Slovenia, July 4, 2019 – Today Turkey begin their campaign in the 2019 FIVB Men’s Volleyball Challenger Cup. Their opposite Adis Lagumdzija hopes to lead his team to victory, but also to the 2020 FIVB Volleyball Nations League.

Turkey came to Ljubljana as the 2019 European Golden League winners. They opened this season in impressive style earning the title with eight wins. “We closed the first chapter of the year claiming gold at the European Golden League. We are very happy that we achieved that, but the season is not finished yet. Now we are competing at the Volleyball Challenger Cup, which in my opinion is much harder, because we have here six teams from all around the world: Cuba, Chile, Egypt, Belarus, Slovenia and Turkey. It will be a fierce competition, so I hope we can win our pool matches. This is the most important, because then we go to the semis. We definitely want to win this tournament and play next year in the Volleyball Nations League,” said Lagumdzija. 

The 20-year-old Turk admits that joining the world’s elite would be a significant accomplishment for his team. “We are a group of very young players, so for us competing in the VNL would be very meaningful. We are a new generation of players strengthened by few older guys. The VNL would be a big step for us, we would get more recognition in our country and abroad. In Turkey volleyball is not as popular as football, but our women's team have already played in the VNL and now they are competing in the Final Six. If we could progress to the VNL and have some successes there, it would be an awesome promotion for our sport. I think we can compete there at a high level. The Challenger Cup is very hard, because there are six teams and only one team goes to the VNL. First we have to do this step, which in my opinion is much harder than playing in the VNL, because there the competition takes more than a month and it’s held all around the world.”

Lagumdzija notes that the players in the Turkey team know each other well from the national leaguel, which has advantages and disadvantages. “We always play against each other in the Turkish League, because 99% of all Turkish players compete in the national league, only one or two players compete abroad. We got used to each other and we know each other well. But now we have to get familiar with other teams. I admit that I would like to play for a foreign club. If I get the opportunity, I will definitely go abroad, to try my hand in another league. I would like to play all around Europe, but Russia and Italy seem to me the most desired locations, as they have two top leagues.”

Turkey will not compete in the qualification tournament for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, but Lagumdzija has his eyes set on the following Olympiad. “I would like to go to the Olympic Games with my team, we have a really good potential. We cannot qualify for 2020, but I think that we can qualify for the Paris 2024 or at least for the Los Angeles 2028. My dream is to compete at the Olympic Games to see how it is to be there.”

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