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New Maritza duo to represent Bulgaria at Continental Cup event in Baden

Diana Malinova (left) and Teodora Simeonova
Plovdiv, Bulgaria, April 28, 2015 - Two leading Maritza Plovdiv players are set to make their debut as a pair at the 2014-2016 CEV Beach Volleyball Continental Cup Round 3 event in Austria this week. Diana Malinova and Teodora Simeonova have been asked to join the Bulgarian women’s national beach volleyball team in the hope of getting the country to the next stage of the competition, which is also part of the qualification process for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Diana Malinova is one of the most experienced and most decorated Bulgarian players. The former Balkan and national champion missed the 2014 season, including Bulgaria’s successful participation in Round 1 of the Continental Cup in Kardzhali, due to injury. Malinova has ended her indoor career at Maritza and has taken up the role of beach volleyball coach at the club. Now she is joining forces with her most advanced trainee - 20-year-old Teodora Simeonova - and the Pool B event in Baden will be their first official tournament as a team. Despite her young age, Simeonova also has some international experience, having played at the 2013 CEV U22 Beach Volleyball European Championship in Varna.
The two have been working hard in preparation for their debut as a duo and for the rest of the 2015 season. They spent some of the cold months training at the new balloon-covered sand court in Plovdiv, following that up with a winter camp in the Rhodope Mountains, and then a spring camp in Primorsko on the Black Sea coast.
Bulgaria will take on very strong opponents in their pool in Baden, including teams from Russia, Ukraine and Scotland. The tournament will take place at the famous Strandbad venue from April 30 to May 1. The pool winners will qualify directly to next year’s Continental Cup finals, while the teams placed second and third will advance to Round 4 to be held later in 2015. In addition to Malinova and Simeonova, the Bulgarian national team also includes the very experienced team of Asya Dinova and Svetla Angelova.
"It will be very difficult for us in Baden for sure," said Diana Malinova. "Russia, Ukraine and Scotland are well-known powers on the sand, but this does not mean that we are doomed. We have yet to find out the exact schedule of the tournament, so we are not rushing into setting concrete goals and creating expectations, but we will certainly do our best to put on a battle and progress in the Continental Cup."


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