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Slovakia ready for new challenge in FIVB World League


Bratislava, Slovakia, May 28, 2014 - Slovakia’s national team is only few weeks away from its first appearance at this year's FIVB World League.

Along with Belgium, Tunisia, Turkey and Mexico, the Slovak team led by Italian coach Flavio Gulinelli will take part in their first ever FIVB World League following the tournament’s expansion to 28 teams this year.

"We are writing volleyball history in our country. Slovakia is very proud to be a part of this great competition and we will do our best not only in sports matters, but also on an organisational level," said Lubor Halanda president of the Slovak Volleyball Federation at a press conference in Bratislava on Wednesday.

Slovakia will host its first Group G match on June 13 in the city of Kosice.

"The match will take place in the Steel Arena for 8000 spectators,” said Halanda. “The arena is considered one of the best in our country and that underlines the importance of the FIVB World League for us. It will be a good test for us and we are working very hard to prepare the tournament to a high level. We want to use our experience from organising various events in the past. We want to thank the head of the city of Kosice and the management of the Steel Arena for helping us promote the event."

The city of Kosice has organised a few volleyball events in the lead up to the tournament.

"We have arranged a mini volleyball tournament for children to be played in the centre of the city on three special courts,” explained Halanda.

“We want to create an interest among the people in our region and our goal is to bring a lot of spectators to the Steel Arena.  Volleyball is a sport for everyone and this is why we are doing such activities. Our players will also meet with fans after their matches in Puerto Rico to sign autographs. We are ready for a new challenge."

Flavio Gulinelli who is no stranger to the FIVB World League, is also ready for the challenge of leading a new team.

"It is always interesting to meet with teams from all over the world. This will be really good experience for me as a coach and also for our players. We have no special goals, but we want to show the best volleyball we can and we will see what happens.”

Slovakia will be heading into the 2014 FIVB World League without experienced players like Tomas Kmet, Martin Nemec, Michal Masny, Lukas Divis, Branislav Skladany, Martin Sopko or Roman Ondrusek.

"I am not looking back, because it is for nothing,” said Gulinelli. “We have brought some new players in, some who have come back to national team after injuries. I am satisfied with the preparation. My group has worked very well and our players are motivated and ready."

Slovakia is currently in the middle of the qualification process for the CEV European Championships. The first of two tournaments took place last weekend in Poprad, Slovakia and second will take place in Athens, Greece.

The Slovak team will travel to their Group G matches of the FIVB World League in Puerto Rico directly from Greece and will return home on June 10.


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