FIVB Volleyball Girls' U18 World Championship

Press release

Bonacic: the flagbearer of Chile’s new generation


Dusan Bonacic of Chile in an attack play against Argentina. The Chilean athlete is one of the leading scorers of the tournament.

Mexicali, Mexico, July 6 2013 – When the Chilean team walk on the court all eyes are in number nine. Dusan Bonacic has become one of the most followed players of the South American squad at the FIVB Boys’ U19 World Championship.

For the fans in Baja California, Mexico, seen a Chilean volleyball team is not something new. Two years ago the Girls Youth Unit visited Tijuana to compete at the U18 Pan American Cup and that was the first international experience for a new generation of athletes in both genders.

However this has been the first time the Boys’ team competes in Mexico. 

The road has been long for the Chilean U19 team as well for Dusan and his coach Daniel Nejamkin, who was born in Argentina, but now is part of the new history written on his neighbor country.

“Dusan is an extraordinary player and this team is also very talented. This has been a great process and need to go on,” said Nejamkin about his coaching experience in Chile.

During that experience the team players have participated in some international competitions like the USA Volleyball High Performance Championships. One of them was celebrated in 2011 in Arizona, where the Chilean boys played against various teams of the United States.

Some other have been a series of scrimmage and friendship matches against Finland, before the European Qualification Tournament as a good preparation for both countries.

An finally the time for the U19 Group World Championship came for him and his teammates. “I feel so glad to play this tournament. We have shown a great volleyball, but there are some details we have to work after our last matches,” said Bonacic, who has figured among best scorers of the competition.

Before facing Turkey for the second time at the tournament, Bonacic had registered 122 points (107 spikes, 8 blocks, 7 serves) and was in the number one position, followed only by Japan’s Yuki Ishikawa who had 120 points (104 spikes, 10 blocks, 6 serves) before the match against Algeria.

Both Ishikawa and Bonacic have been in contention for the leadership, while another Latin American player, Nicolas Lazo of Argentina, was third at the time with 101 (83,5,13) points.
But beyond numbers, the team and collective results are the top priority.

 “Everybody talk to me about the numbers at this tournament, but I really care about the team and the preparation for the next match,” He said.

“Every match has been difficult. Personally the most difficult one for me was against Cuba, because we played very well in the first set.”

Also the match against China was difficult, but the team learned a lot from that experience. “We had a very good second set against China, but during this tournament and these last matches I feel that something happened to us and We need to focus y recover what we showed in the first ones. We have to work on those little details,” Bonacic added.

Dusan is the fourth generation of European (Danish and Croatian) immigrants who arrived in the Latin American country where Football is one of the most followed sports. 

He even played goalkeeper with the U12 and U13 teams of the University of Chile, but six years ago decided to play volleyball devotedly.

He is cousin of Marco and Esteban Grimalt, the beach volleyball players and played in the A2 Series at the Semi Professional series in Argentina.

“It feels great when they see you. People didn’t know you but after they watch you playing and they say you play very well is a beautiful thing. I Love being here in a volleyball world championship, but I don’t want this to be the one and only time,” He remarked.

“I want to play as many world championships as I can with my country, that’s why We want to keep on working and prepare for that.”

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