Connecting classrooms


Tijana Malesevic, one of the best volleyball players coming from Uzice, Serbia, a member of the national volleyball team that won the last European championship, shared some thoughts and hopes with us on sport and Olympic Games in the interview below.

BBC team: What does sport mean to you?
Tijana: Sport… since all of my family members are involved in sport, I have been following all sports events and news since I was a child, and thanks to my parents and my brother I got to like all sports and they taught me that sport is one beautiful game where you try to win and be better than your opponent.

BBC team: How do you prepare for a match?
Tijana: Well, like most sports people I also have my small “rituals” before the match, and one of them is to put on my earphones and listen to music before I enter the court.

BBC team: What is your main motive, what inspires you?
Tijana: For sure, that is love for what I do, and that is volleyball.

BBC team: Can you tell us something about you career?
Tijana: Oh.., I started to practise volleyball after the bombing in September 1999, and I have been playing it for 12 years now and professionally from 2005/6, I think. I played for Jedinstvo Uzice, which is my home club, and now I’m playing for Volero, Zurich. I got into the national team in 2006, first playing for the cadet national team.

BBC team: How do you prepare for the Olympic Games and what are your expectations?
Tijana: We haven’t qualified for the Olympic Games yet, but we have a 2nd qualification tournament on 1 May in Istanbul, and if we don’t succeed, we will have one more round of qualifications in Japan. What are our expectations…we don’t think much about that because our primary goal is to qualify and when we achieve that we will think about the Olympic Games.

BBC team: When you were in high school, did you dream about the Olympic Games?
Tijana: In high school? As soon as I was aware of sports, my dream, as probably is of any other sports person, was to participate in the Olympic Games. I think that that is the peak of a sports career and the result of everything that you worked for, trained for, sacrificed for etc. It is the same with me. I can say that I am so excited at the very thought that there is a possibility for me to participate in the next Olympics.

BBC team: Who has the best chances to win the Olympics volleyball tournament?
Tijana: I don’t like to make predictions. Everything is relative and everything is possible!

BBC team: Your impressions after you won the European Championship in Belgrade.
Tijana: After we won the 1st place…the feeling that cannot be described in words. In Serbia, in Belgrade, at the Pionir Sports Centre packed with people, in front of your nation to beat Germany 3:2, the team that had beaten us before, it was surreal… and in the end our anthem…even now that memory gives me the chills…

BBC team: Do you make any sacrifice for sport?
Tijana: You must sacrifice a lot of things if you want to succeed. Different kinds of sacrifices…when you are younger it’s all very hard…not enough time for your friends, family, going out, first love, because when you are younger you want to live a life like your friends do…but you don’t have time because you practice two times 6 days a week and on 7th day you play the match…But later you realize that it’s how you wanted it to be, that you chose that way…and you fight for it and nothing is hard any more…of course, there are times when you feel nostalgic, but those moments pass fast.

BBC team: Has sport changed you in any way?
Tijana: Since I got into sports early, I was raised in that spirit... So, sport to a large extent has made me the person I am today.
We thanked Tijana for her time and wished her all the best on her way to Zurich, Turkey, London and stardom.

Photos by courtesy of Ms Tijana Malesevic

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