April 3, 2019 - Nine RC44 teams are set to make their debut on the beautiful waters of Kotor Bay, Montenegro for the first event of the newly christened 44Cup over 10 – 14 April.
While the majority of teams have opted for strategic consistency, retaining the same crew as last year, a few key changes promise to mix things up. Entering the fray for the 2019 season are a fresh crop of tacticians: Tom Slingsby takes over from Dean Barker on defending World Champion Team Nika and Ed Baird joins Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team, replacing long term tactician Vasco Vascotto.
His Australian team, having recently won the debut SailGP event in Sydney, Slingsby explains why competitive fleets such as the 44Cup are important to a professional sailor: “The process of adapting between the classes is really important. There are few sailors who are successful in slower, tactical boats all the way through to fast, technical foiling boats. I learn from the people I race with every day and so, it doesn’t matter if it’s a Olympic champion or a club racer, if someone can do something better than I do, whether it’s a tactical move or boat handling, I want to learn and put it in my arsenal.”
The former Oracle Team USA tactician and London 2012 Laser gold medallist adds: “Owner driver circuits place a real challenge on communication. The full professional programs are usually unbelievably quiet boats because you know what people are thinking, but the semi-pro teams place a huge importance on good communication skills.”
The 44Cup has long prided itself on offering the owners and drivers and tacticians as level a playing field as possible with its strict one design rule. However, the first event of 2019 takes this to a new level, as none of the sailors have previous experience of racing in Tivat, Montenegro – making it the ultimate test of each team’s communication ability and skill.
"Montenegro looks like a beautiful venue, but sailing knowledge or an understanding of the area and what to expect is zero,” explains Team Aqua’s tactician Cameron Appleton. “The racing area is in a beautiful bay surrounded by massive mountains so we are expecting flat water and lighter shifty winds. This becomes tricky as no one will have a clear advantage.”
Returning regulars, with only small changes to their crew line-up and looking to monopolise on their consistency, include long term favourites Chris Bake’s Team Aqua, Hugues Lepic’s Aleph Racing, Vladimir Liubomirov and Kirill Frolov’s Bronenosec Sailing Team and Torbjörn Törnqvist’s Artemis Racing.
However in 2018 the teams topping the leaderboard showed surprisingly little consistency. Nico Poon’s Charisma won the 2018 season by a single point over Vladimir Prosikhin’s Team Nika and Igor Lah’s Team CEEREF. Throughout 2018 both Poons and Prosikhin struggled desperately with consistency and only prevailed in the final event of the season. Going into the new season Poons, again like Prosikhin, will be struggling as he too takes on a change in tactician, as American team coach and Olympic 470 silver medallist Morgan Reeser steps into the role left open by Kiwi America’s Cup legend Ray Davies.
“Our main challenge for 2019 is not the other teams but the change of our tactician and one of the key crew member (Sean Clarkson) who’s also left for the America's Cup. Nothing can be predicted!” said Prosikhin.
Perhaps these crew changes will create a chink in the armour that will allow back in one of the strongest teams in the fleet and the kings of consistency, Team CEEREF.
The only crew to glean a fraction more experience over the rest of the fleet in terms of the 2019 44Cup’s first venue is the newest: Tavatuy Sailing Team. Having joined the fleet for a single regatta in 2018, they have committed to the 44Cup for the full season and in preparation have already put in a week of training in Montenegro: “Porto Montenegro is a great place for a regatta. We were lucky with the weather in February and we were able to do a good training session in the strong north-east Bora wind. It is a beautiful marina and I’m sure the other teams will be as impressed as we were,” said Sergejs Filatovs [ is this name right – if he’s not the owner, then who is he?]
Hosted for the first time by Porto Montenegro over 10 – 14 April the 44Cup Porto Montenegro will be the first event of what promises to be a close, hard-fought 44Cup season span five regattas between now and its conclusion in Palma in November.
30 March 2019 - Youngster Goga Bitadze has stunned the basketball part of the region by winning the awards of the Regular Season MVP, Top Prospect and a spot in the Ideal Starting Five. He has summed up his impressions in an interview for the official ABA League website.
Congratulations on the prestigious 2018/19 Regular Season MVP and Top Prospect awards of the ABA League, as well as your earned spot in the Ideal Starting Five. Did you expect this to be possible before the beginning of the season?
“I worked hard during the summer, but frankly I did not expect to win these awards. I just tried to do my best to play every game in the best possible way, to give 100% at every game and I am truly glad that my effort was recognized and that I won the awards.”
This is your second season in the ABA League and even though you have demonstrated your vast potential already in the previous season, you have shocked the region with the way you were dominant. What is the secret of your unbelievable progress and your good games this season?
“I believe that it has everything to do with great effort. One needs to be focused on the game, to think about basketball every day, to stay positive and as I said – work hard. You need to give 100% of your capabilities in every practice. Of course, I have to stress that I have been working with great coaches and players that help me a lot.”
You started your ABA League story with Mega Bemax, which is well known for the quality of developing youngsters and this season you moved to Budućnost VOLI, ABA League champions, where only quality and success in every game is tolerated. How much did playing for each of those clubs help your development?
“Mega Bemax helped me to grow up as a player and person. They have helped me to show my quality, helped me play, and coaches and players have helped me vastly. At Budućnost VOLI I have received plenty of help as well, and it is a huge experience to play for such a club, where everyone expects victories in every game and against everyone. Also, it is a huge experience for me to play in the EuroLeague against quality players in Europe so I can say that both clubs have helped me a lot.”
How did the teammates accept you at Budućnost VOLI and what is your cooperation with Jasmin Repeša like? How different is he from Dejan Milojević?
“The teammates have accepted me greatly. They are excellent guys and I have great relationships with everyone. I still haven’t been cooperating with coach Repeša for a long time, but I have great respect towards him and respect what he does. I have grown up alongside Dejan Milojević and I cannot describe how thankful I am to him. I believe that I have learnt 90% of my game from him. No words can describe my thankfulness.”
What do you expect from the remainder of the season with Budućnost VOLI?
“My expectations are great. I arrived at Budućnost VOLI intending to win the title again. I repeat this time after time, but this is actually my main goal and I am fully devoted to every game for the team to reach this goal.”
Source: ABA League
28 March 2019 - On March 29, 2019, the City of Budva and Hotel Splendid will host the 11th edition of Splendid Grand Prix, an event that has always been known for its glamorous style and high-level organization.
This edition will include a prestige fight in which Montenegrin representative, the junior ex-world champion at the WBO Federation, 24-year-old Dilan Prašović from Herceg Novi will try to defeat Argentinian professional boxer Juan Ezequiel Basualdo.
Dilan Prašović (10-0, 8 KOs), the unbeaten World Boxing Organization cruiserweight, will try to continue his climb towards a world title opportunity. To live up to the expectations, Dilan went on ten-day preparation and sparring training in Oradea, Romania.
The bout is scheduled for ten rounds with the WBO intercontinental cruiserweight title at stake. The site location will be the Splendid Grand Prix in Budva, Montenegro.
Prašović has a one-hundred-per-cent performance in the “pro-ring” - eight victories in eight battles. The project manager, Boban Nikić, expects a quality match of Montenegrin fighter, which measured 90,500 kg, while his opponent from Argentina had 90,200 kg.
Argentinian Basvaldo is seven years older than Prašović, and his score is ten victories, three defeats, and one draw.
As Fightnews previously reported, Prašović impressively knocked out an unbeaten Abraham Tabul last summer. His next opponent Basualdo was just world ranked previous year following his KO upset of then 17-0 Jose Gregorio Ulrich. Prašović is only 24 but is already showing signs to be a special talent. He is not looking past Basualdo, but a win could see him vault deep into the talent-rich cruiserweight mix.
Duel Prašović - Basvaldo is the primary fight in the show, and is expected to begin at 10:10 pm.
The host of the tournament "Splendid Grand Prix - Budva 2019" is the Montenegro Stars Hotel Group and Hotel Splendid, and the sponsors of this event are the Municipality of Budva and the Tourist Organization of Budva.
The first match of the semi-final series of the ABA League play-off in Zagreb is the mirror of the current course of the basketball season for Buducnost Voli, first under the leadership of Aleksandar Dzikic, and then Jasmin Repes. Without a for the guests in the Euroleague (there are still two chances, against Barcelona and Panathinaikos), the team from Podgorica also lost all important matches in the regional league this season - from Red Star, Partizan and twice to Cedevita, the second time on Monday night (90:83). It's unnecessary to talk about the defeat to Cibona and, in particular, against Krka at home.
Buducnost outside of "Moraca" is a completely different team. Without a win away, Jasmin Repes's players simply can not defend the trophy in the ABA league. Therefore, they cannot play in the Euroleague.
And the match against Cedevita in Zagreb, especially in the second half, does not offer too much reason for optimism, although it is clear that Buducnost has the quality and experience to solve the semi-final series against Cedevita in their benefit.
"As we have already guessed, the game in Zagreb was difficult, and all the matches with Cedevita this season were uncertain until the end. We started the match well, we played well in the first half, but we couldn’t continue the whole match. We allowed too many rebounds, the defeat was not at the great level in the second half, we missed important shots," says the center of Buducnost Goga Bitadze, who scored eight points in the first match against Cedevita, four rebounds and two blocks.
Buducnost has no right to a mistake, a win is imperative on Sunday in Moraca, to attain the final match in Zagreb. Everything else would be just a catastrophe.
"We have to show the reaction of the team in Moraca, to win in front of the home fans. We saw where we made mistakes, we analyzed, and I'm sure we will be ready for the second game. Of course, we believe in victory and going further; we knew from the beginning that we had to win at least one match away."
The problem, which is not a small one, is the preparation of the second match against Cedevita. While the team from Zagreb will be able to "make a plan" for the duel in Podgorica, Bitadze and his comrades will have to play the penultimate match in the Euroleague in Barcelona on Thursday.
"The match with Barcelona comes at a bad time, but it's not something new, we knew we had it coming for sure. If we win the third match against Cedevita, we will have a match in Athens (Panathinaikos), but that is the price of playing in the Euroleague. Cedevita has more time to prepare, but we already know each other enough and, as I said, I believe that on Sunday we will be ready to transfer the series to Zagreb," the Georgian center concluded.
Jasmin Repesa said that "nothing surprised him in Cedevita's game".
"We also counted on what was not the case in the previous games, that they could play with two tall players. It did not make a difference compared to when Kuk played, or Ramljak or Muric. There was confusion in terms of the attacking and defense, if we are talking about some individual characteristics that are clear and well known," Repes said.
It was known that the greatest danger was Kobs (23 points) and Pulen (20), but they were elusive to Buducnost’s defense.
"It is clear that Cedevita’s game begins with them, but in their game, no matter how good they are and creative, their tall players is something much better than their individual quality." Cedevita has tall players with a lot of understanding of the the game, they have experience, have gone through all the schools. Regardless that Stipanovic is not a player who will strike a shot from the outside or who will hugely hit free throws, but he has the recognition of the game and passes the ball better than some outside players.
Our problem was in the first-line breaks, where Cedevita had a lot of passes under the hoop, where they had the final throw or went on a rebound in the attack and scored easy points. Even when the defense was in good shape," Repes said.
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Text by Sasa Joncic, on March 27th 2019, read more at Vijesti
26 March 2019 - Minister of Sports and Youth Nikola Janović said that the last night's football match between Montenegro and England, which has been seen as a sports festival in the country, is trying to be presented as sports game that contained incidents, but there has never been, and there will be no basis for racism, chauvinism, and nationalism in Montenegro.
"If a group of individuals really sent inexplicable messages, I strongly condemn it on behalf of the Government and the Ministry of Sports and Youth, and I say that there is no and there can be neither justification nor understanding in Montenegro for those people. As a former sports player, athlete and now as a Minister, during conversations with the foreign public I say that in my country there has never been, and there will be no basis for racism, chauvinism, and nationalism," Minister Janović stressed.
The Minister recalled that Montenegro is a civilized state, the only one that has gone through the horrors of the nineties without a war on its territory, the only one in the neighborhood that genuinely and thoroughly has been cherishing multi-ethnic and multi-confessional life for centuries.
"Our clubs and our national teams, our Government, our cities and villages and our families are the fortresses of the richness of our diversity. The spirit of my country was shown in a carnival atmosphere in which this match and the previous matches were awaited in the streets of our capital city both by domestic and foreign fans, applauding the anthem and the visiting team's players even when they scored. As well as the mutual joy after the match without any incident," Minister of Sports and Youth Nikola Janović emphasised.
25 March 2019 - The members of the Majorette Club Lili returned from Podgorica from the state championship in dance with seven gold medals, and thus became state champions in the categories of juniors, cadets and bees, as well as in formations “senior solo stick”, “senior solo pom pon” , “cadet solo stick” and “cadets duo pom pon”.
The Majorette Club Lili also received the Special Thank-You-Note from the Dance Association of Montenegro for an outstanding contribution to the promotion and development of dance in the past year.
Thirty-five girls and young women from this majorette club aged 5 to 23 years old who worked hard in the past couple of months on practicing choreography, presented their skills in front of an expert jury and won the “National Champions” title.
The competition organized by the International Dance Organization IDO Montenegro gathered 17 dance clubs with around 170 choreographies. The Majorette Club Lili now plans to give their champion girls a few days of rest to celebrate their great success, after which they will continue with work and preparations for the future performances and competitions. The most significant is undoubtedly the appearance at the European Majorettes Championship in August in France, where the girls will represent Herceg Novi and Montenegro, as they have for the past five years.
In five years of existence, the Majorette club "Lili" has won numerous acknowledgments and awards, including eight European medals, and their favourite one is their very first medal. “We have plenty of medals from state championships and international competitions; so many that we lost count. There are probably around 40 in different categories. The biggest prizes that are the most meaningful to us are eight European medals. Although we look forward to every prize, we always emphasize that our first European medal is somehow the most desirable," said the club’s choreographer.
25 March 2019 - The Orange team has reason to celebrate this Monday evening! Cedevita has defeated Budućnost VOLI in front of 4,500 fans in the Dražen Petrović Hall and took the lead in this semi-final series. The audience watched a big battle down on the court as each side really gave its best to win the match. Eventually, Cedevita’s deadly duo Cobbs-Pullen made a difference by scoring 43 points combined for the home team.
Game 2 in this series will be played in Podgorica on Sunday, March 31. If Cedevita wins that match, they will advance to the 2019 ABA League Finals. If Budućnost VOLI manages to tie the score in this series, then Game 3 will be played in Zagreb on April 7.
Cedevita was up by 76:73, with 4 minutes left on the game clock, while Budućnost VOLI had a fast-break to reduce the gap. However, Petar Popović missed an open-lay up, while then Goga Bitadze and Earl Clark also missed open shots after making offensive rebounds! The visiting team was punished for those three missed shots, as Cedevita made 4 points in a row and jumped to 80:73. For this kind of game, a 7-point lead was a huge advantage, and Cedevita remained in the lead until the very end.
Justin Cobbs was the player of the match as he was a true leader of the Orange troops. He was the top scorer of Cedevita with 23 points, while he also made five assists alongside his defense which was exceptional this evening. He also had one steal and performance index rating of 22.
Cedevita won the battle in the paint. The home team had seven rebounds more than Budućnost VOLI squad, while some of their offensive rebounds were very important in the key moments of this match.
Source: ABA League
25 March 2019 - A ruthless England survived an early scare to stroll past Montenegro 5-1 in their European Qualifiers clash in Podgorica on Monday night.
Creator Ross Barkley then turned scorer as he touched in Callum Hudson-Odoi's shot (38) after his Chelsea teammate cut in dangerously from the flank on his first England start at just 18.
The impressive Barkley got his second and England's third with a simple finish from Raheem Sterling's cut-back (59), Harry Kane got in on the act by tapping home (71), again from Sterling's unselfish centre, and Sterling himself then wrapped up the win with a cool finish from sub Jordan Henderson's fine through ball (81).
England now look ahead to June's UEFA Nations League after two convincing wins from two in European Qualifiers Group A, and have now won five consecutive matches for the first time under Gareth Southgate having scored five for the second time in four days.
England dominated the ball early on, but Montenegro went ahead with their first attack as Hudson-Odoi failed to get up for a header, allowing Vešović to run towards the box, unintentionally play a one-two with England defender Keane and curl past Jordan Pickford from 15 yards.
But Keane atoned for his sloppiness for the opener by levelling for England just after the half-hour mark, tucking a header into the bottom right corner from Barkley's free-kick on the right.
By then, Hudson-Odoi had switched from right to left wing, and the tactical move had paid off as he cut in from the flank well and saw his shot touched home by Barkley ahead of goalkeeper Danijel Petković.
Hudson-Odoi looked bright going forward, and his excellent run and shot forced a good stop from Petković after the break, but Barkley gave England a two-goal cushion as he finished off at the back post after Sterling's centre from the by-line had fortuitously fallen into his path.
Kane got his 22nd goal for England in 37 caps, tapping home directly from Sterling's pass as Barkley had superbly played in the Manchester City man, showcasing England's quality on the counter.
Source: Sky Sports
Sibenik and Partizan will remain the only teams that have defended the title in the WABA League, and the basketball players of Buducnost Bemax will long mourn the way they dropped the throne in the finals of the 18th edition of the regional competition.
Goran Boskovic's team was after Berovo the whole time; the Bulgarians had plus 15 points (43:28) in the 3rd quarter, but the Montenegrin side fought back.
They started to beat the opponents with Nikolic Babić, who 51 seconds before the end scored a 6:0 series for the first lead - 60:59. Sania Chong made the shift, and Jill Bart, 22 seconds before the end, missed the shot for the new lead. Snezana Aleksic hit two free throws for 63:60 with nine seconds to go, but it was only the beginning of the drama.
After Boskovic's time-out, Nikolina Dzebo scored, and the team started celebrating, but the refs showed that she stepped on the line, so the score was 62:63.
A foul was quickly made over Aleksic, who scored both free throws 2.9 seconds before the last buzzer.
The ball came to Babic, who tried to hit for three points with her left hand, but Teodora Dineva naively made a foul even when the time was running out.
The captain of Buducnost calmly hit the first two, but for the third, her hand started shaking, and the trophy went to Bulgaria for the second time. Recall, in 2007, the champion was CSKA from Sofia.
The girls from Podgorica missed a chance to remain in the 2nd place of the eternal list with three trophies, behind the undisputed Sibenik, who was champion five times.
Take a look here at the entire match YouTube
Text by Nikola Nikolic, on March 24th, 2019, read more at Vijesti
England has never had a stronger representation than the one that is coming to Podgorica, said the Montenegrin national player Nikola Vukcevic at the press conference before the big game under Gorica.
"I have not played against a national team like England; this is the best team that has come to us, at least since I'm in the team. They play at a high level, and they are young. We believe, of course, that we can achieve a positive result," said Vukcevic.
Montenegro's qualifications started with a draw against Bulgaria and victory was lost over a controversial penalty.
"Maybe we emptied ourselves emotionally after losing two points in this way. However, we have to look into the future, there is an important game waiting for us, in which we can get a lot, and we have nothing to lose," he said.
England has been the guest under Gorica twice, and both times Montenegro took a point.
"In the previous two games we were not defeated, we want to continue the positive set, but it will be difficult. We believe in our quality; the most important thing is that we enter in 15-20 minutes very strong mentally, to amuse the fans so they could give us the wings. The fans are a great help, but the atmosphere depends on us," said Vukcevic.
England is made up of great players, but Vukcevic signals out two of them. They are Kane and Sterling. "They are the greatest danger to us, but I believe we can stop them," said the Levante midfielder.
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Text by Vijesti Sport, on March 24th, 2019, read more at Vijesti
March 22, 2019 - Porto Montenegro hosts the second stage of the 3rd European Match Race Tour, which is in the waters of the Tivat Bay from 22 to 24 March. The European Match Race Tour (ETMR), which consists of seven stations and a grand finale, is the new Match Race format designed to promote duel sailing and affirmation of younger sailors to compete and progress worldwide, reported from Porto Montenegro.
Of the ten participating teams, eight sailors are in the top 100 in the world ranking of sailing races. Ettore Botticini from Italy is 4th in the world, Mati Sepp from Estonia takes 6th place and Dejan Presen from Slovenia 14th. Porto Montenegro Yacht Club (PMYC) is hosting six teams that will sail for the first time in Montenegro while the other four teams have been in our waters before.
PMYC has been selected as an EMRT station because of its excellence and perfection in the organisation of the regatta, especially when it comes to two-legged sailing, excellent facilities and sailing conditions in the Tivat Bay Aquatorium.
While many of the tour stops were already hosts in previous editions, among them also Porto Montenegro in Tivat, the 2019 tour visits Italy's Lago di Ledro and Romania's black sea town Limanu for the first time. The hosts of the 2019 Grand Final will be Croatia's beautiful sailing city of Sibenik in October. Last year's Grand Final was sailed in Tivat waters.
The tour 2019 consists of the proven and well-known format as in the previous two editions. Europe's best skippers can earn points at seven qualifying events to qualify themselves for the Grand Final with double points. Besides, there are also a separate U23 ranking and U23 European Tour champion as well as a women’s only ranking list. These two ranking lists and titles shall highlight the diversity of match racing in Europe and be a stepping stone for young and up-and-coming teams into the match racing circuit.
The opening event was traditionally in Sibenik on the Dalmatian coast, where skippers had the chance to try out the conditions for the season finale. The next stage is taking place a bit further south the Adriatic coastline at Tivat's Porto Montenegro followed by the stop-over on Austria's Lake Neusiedl before heading south again to Romania for the first visit of the picturesque fishermen town of Limanu. Two events on the Baltic will follow – Gothenburg in Sweden and Swinoujscie in Poland – before the last game of round one in Italy's match race Eldorado at Ledro. The tour will finish with the Grand Final 2019 at Sibenik in Mid-October.
"We are very excited about the 2019 calendar, and we look forward to defending our title," explained Piotr Harasimowicz, the winner of the 2018 European Match Race Tour. "We believe the format is great and again many of Europe's best match race skippers will take part in it!"
European Match Race Tour Calendar:
21-23 February: Sibenik, CRO
22-24 March: Tivat, MNE
12-14 April: Lake Neusiedl, AUT
03-05 May: Limanu, ROU
25-26 May: Gothenburg, SWE
21-23 June: Swinoujscie, POL
29 Aug – 1 Sept: Lago di Ledro, ITA
Mid-October: Sibenik, CRO (Grand Final)
Source: Porto Montenegro European Match Race Announcement, European Match Race Official Website