Games of the Small States of Europe

Our athletes won eight medals at the Games of the Small States of Europe in Liechtenstein

Win medals, that’s why we came here at the first place, and I will support you from the stadium. This message was addressed by the President of Montenegrin Olympic Committee Dušan Simonović to participants of the Games of the Small States of Europe in Malbun

On next day, young table tennis players Irfan Čekić and Luka Bakić promised a medal and they won it, first, bronze for Montenegro. Later on another one (bronze-double), Marija Vuković hid her aces saying that she is not in good shape, she flew and flew over almost up to the Games record.

What to say about Slađana Perunović? In the last moment our athlete was put on the participant list. In 10.000m race everybody looked her in the back from the third lap, and when she was alone she almost broke Montenegrin record (she was 3 seconds late). And that’s not all! Two days later, just when she cought some air, she repeated similar result in 5.000m race, even though she wanted to quit due to fatigue and illness. Once again, she was strong and once again she won gold.

In his last attempt, Danilo Ristić threw discus until the silver medal, day after he was fourth in shot put.

Volleyball players?
Igor Vušurović, winner of the Olympic gold medal from Sydney, well known volleyball player, and in Lichtenstein Chef de Mission, didn’t have any dilemma. He knew that the “reds” were threatened by Cyprus, but…only one set, and one lost from Cyprus at the debut, lost Dabović and his team mates who won five matches until the gold.

And best for the last – Slađana and volleyball players have just celebrated winning of their medals, few kilometers away, Dijana Zonjić notofoed the participants that Irfan Čekić won silver medal in individual competition!

Sunčica Rogić was stopped in the quarterfinals of the table tennis tournament, as well as Ljubomir Čelebić in tennis, and he was one step from sensation – after 0:6 in the first set, he managed to even the score (6:3), and in decisive set he led 5:4, and – 30:0!

Marija is penicillin for Slađa!

She came to win and she did it. She came for the height of 180cm, and from the beginning of this year she couldn’t manage to jump over something she did at the World Junior Championship when she won gold medal. But, she “deceived” media, colleagues, coach…has she deceived herself? When she was alone on that field and when she jumped 186, she admitted:
– I had B Olympic norm at 177 centimeters, but I couldn’t position my head for the heights, I think I managed today and I am assured that by the end of the year or at the beginning of the next I will jump 192! She did her job and it seems that her main opponent was the food. Here’s why:
– Coach was satisfied by the result and he said I mustn’t eat too much, to preserve the figure which was very difficult, I admit. I withheld as much as I could!
Younger of the two athletes supported her colleague in both disciplines. She was in panic, how will she do it, can she do it…I explained her that it is all up to her, that she was the favorite and not to think if her leg will start hurting or how to compete 5.000 meters altitude against athlete from Cyprus who had best result. Self confidence and clear mind are important, when you believe in yourself everything is achievable..

Slađana – I hoped for one more medal, more to one on 5.000 instead 10.000, maybe if I ran the first day 5.000 race I might have ran the record, because the weather was better. We ran in the afternoon so it was really difficult for me. Tiredness, fatigue, did it exist – from the beginning of the race I felt it, I knew I won’t be able to run very well but I knew I’ll win a medal.

I don’t look at the screen, it physically kills me, during 10.000m race I couldn’t even look, I just heard it was the last lap, I have the record in my feet, 800 to 10.000 I am the record holder, I would like to run 800 meters but it’s not for me.

Everything times three

Isn’t that enough? Three medals for table tennis players.

– We could make one step up, but it was their first time at the Games, and both of them are young…I am very happy that they won medals in all three disciplines they competed. Snežana Ćulafić had graduation exam and was not able to participate, so we lost team competition, pairs where could expect at least one medal, said selector Zonjić. – Tournament was very good; some of the favorites had naturalized players from China, Romania and Bulgaria which showed their aims. But we managed to confuse them all.

Zonjić has no doubts that at the next Games our small delegation will be more numerous and that medals will double in San Marino. Table tennis players were those who spent most of the time in the venues. Literally, from morning until evening. Good shape was necessary.

– Wherever we go it happens that we are prevented to see something other can see because of our obligations. Such is our sport, we play from morning until evening, guys had eight matches a day but it couldn’t stop them to do their job the best possible way. And they are used to it, it’s no news to them.

Gold is the only thing that counts!

– Our expectations were such that we aimed for the medal. Gold, and we justified it with our quality. Match against Cyprus was most difficult one, including that against Luxembourg, and it was in that match we were most motivated, responsible and good. In this team were three players who participated at junior qualifications and who had lots of space and used it. Team has perspective, said Vušurović and mentioned that – Volleyball Federation has most members that the United Nations. Beach Volleyball Federation has more than 160 member countries, so it’s illusory to speak about the quality and popularity of this sport. W e will make our way as far as possible through Europe, where best volleyball is played, by participation in qualifying tournaments. Last year were unfortunate and lost against Estonia 3:2 in qualifications, and later on they managed to get to the European Championship. It is clear that the boys have quality, and with proper work and good draw they could probably compete in one of the competitions.

Vušurović was proud of the volleyball players and equally of other athletes, as well.

– The Games justified our expectations and I was honored to be Chef de Mission, and had an opportunity to have contact with everybody, and as for their behavior I must only praise them. This was one big competition, visited by the President of IOC, Jacques Rogge, President of EOC, Patrick Hickey, National Committees, Ministries of Sport, and all states that were in Lichtenstein. We know to underestimate, we can say that those are small states too, but each one of them is economically, stronger than us and all of their athletes have better conditions.
They are more numerous, too, but our first participation was designed in a way to show them that we are one sports nation, and we did that by winning eight medals.

It was really pleasant to win several medals a day

President of MOC Dušan Simonović is very proud of participants of the Games of the Small States of Europe. In yesterday’s addressing the media during the reception for our champions upon their return from Lichtenstein, he said that he didn’t expect that we will win eight medals at the Games.

– I didn’t expect all of those medals. We were sure about Marija’s gold, volleyball too, but I couldn’t hope they will be so strong and that really makes me happy. They were better and more secure from match to match and what matters is that younger players got the chance too. It was really pleasant to win several medals a day, if you add their relationship and socializing as well. I can’t remember of any event that passed in such manner even though we had lots of obligations.

About Slađana Perunović, winner of two gold medals, president of MOC said:
– She gives a lot to sport, she is Balkan champion and she will do her best to achieve the Olympic norm. I personally spoke to the President of the Athletic Federation and with Slađana, we will support her on two most important competitions in the future. I am assured that in the future we can expect good results from Slađana. She is serious athlete, very thorough and persistent too.

Simonović thinks that our table tennis players lacked a little luck and experience, and that stage fright did its job too, especially in the finals where Irfan Čekić lost from 32 years older opponent. Čekić is 17 years old. They are young athletes, I am sure they will progress in the future. You saw that in this sport also participated Chinese and some players who achieved good results on big competitions. But, that didn’t stop our table tennis players to show class, progress and I am assured we will watch them for a long time.

Support for Bojan Kosić

Bojan Kosić was in minds of bio je u mislima naših sportista u Lihtenštajnu.

– We are all by Bojan Kosić, and we expect him to win because he will face much more victories in his life, said President of MOC, Dušan Simonović.

Source "Arena"

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