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 2002 Info
Italy - Marco Bonitta

After an inaugural World Championship title last year in Germany, Italian women's volleyball coach Marco Bonitta is eager to taste more success in a new four-year plan.

Last month the 39-year-old Bonitta turned down a mountain of overseas offers to sign a four-year extension to his two-year Italian coaching contract and after leading the Italian women's team to their best international performance last September he is already looking to make further space in the trophy cabinet.

"After winning the World Championship I want the European title and a Olympic medal now," he said. "The main objective at the moment is a European Championship title before aiming for the Olympics.

"The World Grand Prix is an ideal stepping stone in the whole process but the main objective is conquering Europe. In order to do that we have to face our old rivals Russia, who up until now have always been our bogey team but now is the time to change that trend. "We go into the Grand Prix to take a medal but it will serve us well in preparation for continental championship. "We also have the Olympics in mind. All the girls have started a personalized program in order to be in the best possible shape come August 2004. I do not speak about gold at the moment but if we arrive at Athens in the same condition as we did at the World Championship we will definitely be on track."

Playing as defending World Champions is a new-found burden for Italy and with tournaments such as the World Grand Prix (July 18 - August 10), the European Championship in Turkey (September 20-28) and the World Cup in Japan (November 1-15), Bonitta knows it won't be an easy time having the title of World Championship champions associated with his team, "but I have already the remedy. We will have to forget all the sacrifices we have to complete in order to win. The trouble is thinking that things will happen by themselves or to justify an eventual defeat thinking that, after all, we are champions of the world. The difference at the top is minimal and if rendering the title is already on the mind it is time to come down from the altar ".

Part of Bonitta's plan to help him achieve European and Olympic glory is to possibly call up of Cuban opposite Taimarys Aguero to his national side saying "she is the only player who is capable of adding anything to our squad at the moment". The 26-year-old has been playing for the Italian league side Despar Perugia since 1998 and having last played for Cuba in 2001, she is now seeking Italian citizenship.

Another aim of Bonitta's is to improve Italy's world ranking where they currently sit sixth. "They will be four important years in which we are obligated to start a new cycle.

"When finishing this term I hope to leave the team in the top three of the world rankings".