Belgrade, Serbia, March 5, 2009 – FIVB President Jizhong Wei was welcomed by President of the Republic of Serbia Boris Tadic and other dignitaries in Belgrade during a two-day working visit to the Volleyball Federation of Serbia, which included a tour of the facilities for the 2009 FIVB World League Final Round.
President Wei, accompanied by his wife Li Lingpei, visited “Belgrade Arena” sports hall, the venue through July 22-26 for the Final Round of the 20th anniversary of the FIVB World League.
President Tadic, Serbian Minister of Sports and Youth Mrs. Snezana Samardzic-Markovic, Belgrade Lord Mayor Mr. Dragan Djilas and Serbian Olympic Committee President Mr. Vlade Divac hosted special receptions for President Wei during his time in Belgrade.
The FIVB President visited the headquarters of the Volleyball Federation of Serbia, where he met the employees and gave an exclusive interview to the Serbian Public TV Service (RTS), the official media partner of the Volleyball Federation of Serbia.
During President Wei’s stay at the Hotel Hyatt Regency in Belgrade, the Volleyball Federation of Serbia organized a press conference with Mr. Wei and Volleyball Federation of Serbia President and FIVB Executive Vice President Mr. Aleksandar Boricic, both addressing Serbian media representatives. At the press conference, Boricic presented Wei with the Golden Plate of the Volleyball Federation of Serbia.
President Wei, commenting on Belgrade Arena, said, “The only thing I can say is that I’m very satisfied because everything is there. I cannot add anything, and I think that the arena can provide us with everything we need.”
President Wei, on the reception at the Ministry of Sports and Youth, said, “We discussed a lot of things, we didn’t talk too much about Volleyball, we talked about sports in general, and I said that your Minister of Youth and Sports, she is really a very good politician, because she always thinks about the future, about the youth, about the children.”
President Wei, on the Serbian Olympic Committee, said, “I think first of all it’s a good thing to elect a former player (Divac) to be the President of Olympic Committee because we are sure that not only does he know sport but he feels sport.”
Mrs. Samardzic-Markovic said, “The honour and the pleasure was all mine because discussions I had with the President were an inspiration for me and I think we share a common vision on how the sports are important within the society and common vision on how to develop Volleyball. For us, it was special honour to receive President Wei in the Ministry and to have the opportunity to discuss the strategic development of both sports and Volleyball in Serbia, and I deeply believe that when we develop Volleyball here in Serbia we contribute also to the development of Volleyball in the world because we have good experts. Our Volleyball Federation is a very good federation, I think one of the best organized federations in Serbia, and I wanted to express my appreciation in front of your president.”
Mr. Divac said, “First of all, for me personally this meeting means a lot because President Wei is my first guest since I was appointed to be the President of the Serbian Olympic Committee and it’s very important for Serbian sports not just for Volleyball to have such an important person visiting us today. As the Olympic Committee we are very supportive of federations like Volleyball because I think it’s very important for everybody to go in same direction like the Volleyball Federation of Serbia.”
Lord Mayor Djilas said, “For us it is very important to have such a big tournament here, the World League Finals in particular, because Volleyball was very popular in Belgrade over the last 10 years. We started from the beginning back then and now I can say that Volleyball is on the same level with football and basketball, with extremely good results in both men’s and women’s competition.”
Mr. Boricic said, “In the past two days we had many activities aiming to show the influence of the Volleyball Federation of Serbia in international institutions, and we are pleased to be the first European country that Mr. Wei visited since becoming the President of the FIVB. On the other hand, Mr. Wei saw with his own eyes that we have a great deal of support from the Serbian Government, and he met the newly elected President of the Serbian Olympic Committee who assured him that the Volleyball Federation of Serbia is the best organized sports federation in Serbia.”