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© Gertjan Kooij / Beeldboot

Branislav Mitrovic blog

When Tim Hartog, editor-in-chief of Waterpoloworld.com, contacted me about writing a blog for the most visited site about water polo I was more than excited. Then he told me that together with me Tony Azevedo and Felipe Perrone are also going to write, I said to myself what a privilege – you have to do it!
Water polo is my life. I train it for 21 years. In October of 1994, when the war was still in my country, I and three of my friends went to a pool in Novi Sad, Serbia. At first they were better, scoring goals, going into the fight and I was sitting on the side watching them. The coach came to me and said: ‘’ok Bane, you’re going to be a goalkeeper. The rest is history. Today I am the goalkeeper of water polo club ZF Eger (Hungary) and goalkeeper of the Serbian national water polo team with the title of the best goalkeeper of the last World Championships in Kazan.


The concept of this blog is to write about the preparation for the Olympic Games that are going to be held next year in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I never made it to the Olympics and if God gives me health I want to believe the Rio Olympics can be my first. I was on two world championships, two European championships and on several Universiade Games. I saw and met a lot of great people and sportsmen. But the Olympics are something different. The best of the best. The best athletes of all sports. Anybody who means something on this earth in sports is coming there.
The Olympics are coming from Greece. Still in the ancient Greece Olympic winners where very loved and the others try to copy their behaviour and skills. It hasn’t changed until nowadays. For me people that just participate in the Olympics are heroes. Just make it to the event that comes every four years and that is dream to all that ever practice some sport, is already very big. For those who don’t know, water polo at the Olympics was the among the first team sports introduced at the 1900 games who were held in Paris, France. Until now it has been played with very small modifications of the rules.


Photo: Gertjan Kooij / Beeldboot.

When I think about the Olympics I expect a very hard tournament. More than eight teams can win the gold. The competition was never more equal. The world championships in Kazan shown that. For us, the national team of Serbia, it’s going to be even harder. In the past two years we won everything and now everybody expect from us to easy win the Olympics, also. It is a very big pressure for us and on the other side a very good motivation for other teams. When they play against us they have nothing to lose so they give more than they know, and that is very dangerous for opponents. Before the Olympics, there will be the European Champioships that are going to be held in January, in Belgrade, Serbia. In our country, in the town where we all lived and played, somebody his whole life, somebody for several years. Our nation is also expecting from us to at home to beat everybody and make it the third European championship title in a row. In the country where is Novak Djokovic, the best volleyball, basketball, football players in the world, everything but the gold in every competition is a failure. But we are aware of that and we felt that on our skins when we were 7th in 2013 at the World Championships in Barcelona. So we are going to give everything not to disappoint our people.
We, players, love the Olympic years because in that year the club season is little bit shorter than usual. Especially when they changed the calendar and the European championship is going to be held in January. You have to play the same number of matches but in shorter time. We love that because you have matches in every three days. It is harder than we are used to but at least you are never bored. The season in Hungary started already on the 23th of September. We started beating the Miskolc team, a team that is new in the first league of Hungary. The first and the second game I didn’t played because I was sick and instead of me our second goalie Kristof Csoma took my place in the goal and defended it very well. I think he is the future of Hungarian goalkeeping. After that we went to Kaposvar, where the goalie is three-time Olympic champion Zoltan Szecsi. He was good but this team wasn’t on his level and we won easy. In the last round, so far, we hosted the team of Szeged. The team against we lost last year. So we prepared good for this match, expecting everything from a young team of Szeged. But three days before the match they had LEN Euro Cup qualifications and they came tired to our pool. We didn’t have too many problems with them, we won by eight goals. This Saturday we played against BVSC, I hope we won as we are the better team...

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