Belgrade, the Capital of Serbia, has hosted the 32nd European Water Polo Championships, from 10th to 23rd January.
As someone who loves sport as well as Belgrade, I couldn’t imagine that this competition passes without me, especially when Montenegrin National Team placed into the semi final. Just in one day, my friend Milica and I, have planned our trip to Belgrade. Knowing all charms of our favourite city we were very happy and excited.
We arrived in Belgrade by car with our friend Nikola, who is a great driver. Whole driving passed so quickly with lot of fun, even it took about 9 hours. ( Nikola usually gets to Belgrade by car in about 7,5 hours, but this time we made some break in Kraljevo 🙂 In the afternoon, we were finally in a beautiful Belgrade. Nikola dropped us to our apartment near Knez Mihajlova, the most popular street in the center of Belgrade. Since the semi-final game was the same day we didn’t have so much free time, so quickly left our baggage and went to the match.
Belgrade’s Kombank Arena, where the Championship was happening, was specially adapted for this opportunity. For the first time it was set the paddling pool which will be installed at the Serbian national water polo center in Vrnjacka Banja, after the competition.
This Championship was the largest European Water Polo Championship so far, with a total of 28 teams (16 men’s and 12 women’s), 17 of the participating countries with the highest capacity for 12 000 visitors. There were 300 accredited journalists, 100 more than in Budapest two years ago. 31 TV crews have TV rights. All praise for the organizers, everything looked really amazing. People who support and love sport, like I do, were able to experience this atmosphere in the true sense.
Montenegro played against Hungary in the semi-final. The Arena was full of Montenegrin fans who were supporting our team, equipped with national flags, scars with Montenegrin symbols, t-shirts. I also had a special make up on my face, and wore red t shirt with red cap. Almost whole Arena was in a red colour, and you could hear supporting songs. It was a really great atmosphere, and I enjoyed with all my heart.
In the phenomenal match, Montenegro defeated Hungary with score of 8:5 and advanced to the final of the European Championship.
The most importantly, our team achieved its goal, which was the visa for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. This was the reason that after the match we celebrated the victory in one of Belgrade’s clubs. We have chosen Toro Latin Gastro Bar, the first Richard Sandoval restaurant in Serbia, where was full of Montenegrin fans. We met a lot of our friends, and really had a great time.
Next day we enjoyed the charms of Belgrade, culinary tastes, shopping and nightlife for which Belgrade is among the best cities in the world.
And then came, Saturday – the day when the final match was to be. For the title of European Champion fought Serbia, host of the Championships, and Montenegro. This match was very important for both countries, and meant a lot for all sport lovers from Serbia as well as from Montenegro. Because of the big interest for the final match, it was very hard to find the tickets, but Milica and I didn’t give up. We came in the front of the Arena, and thanks to our friends from Montenegro, managed to get the tickets. Oh, God, you can’t imagine how happy and thankful we were. We will be a part of the history! Atmoshpere in the Arena was unbelievable. This final match will be remembered for the fact that it was accompanied by a record 18,473 spectators at the Arena, and I am proud being a part of this spectacle.
We took the seats together with other Montenegrin fans, and started to watch the match.
Montenegrin sharks, as we love to call Montenegro’s water polo team players, waged by two goals, and it was clear that the match is going to be unpredictable to the very end. During the whole match, Montenegro was led by one goal difference, Serbia was rushing the score. However, in the fourth quarter, the Serbs had more strength, reversed the result, and eventually won by 10: 8. For passionate supporters, like I am, it was very hard to watch that my national team is losing the match. But, sharks fought bravely until the end, won the silver medal, and we are very proud of them! We love them, they gave their best!
I use this opportunity to congratulate gold medal to the Srbian Team, this is the third time in a row that they became European champion. For all of you who are interested to know more about the European Championship, you can visit: www.belgrade2016.rs
After visiting so many big sports events, such as Rijeka 2009, Rome 2009, Prague 2011, Barcelona 2013, where I used to travel in order to support National Montenegrin Sport’s Teams, I can say that this trip will stay an unforgettable experience for me. I just can’t wait my next trip to Olympic Games 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, which is going to be held from 5th to 21st August.
People who I meet, including a lot of my friends, are often curious and want to know why I am going to all these events. I will tell you why. I love sport. I love to be a part of Montenegrin’s fan groups. It means a lot to me. I think that sportists are Montenegro’s best product ever. I love to meet people who are attending these events, because we are all connected through positive energy, adrenaline, excitement, pride, happiness. And we stay friends forever. Now you tell me, whether it is worth? 🙂