Sport

23 May 2019, 12:16 PM

May 23, 2019 - Kotor International Mountain Car Race - MBAT Kotor 2019  "Tripo Bukilica Memorial Race" organized by the Motor Sports Club AMSK Kotor, will be held on 1 and 2 June.

The race is awarded for the FIA Central European Zone Championship (CEZ), the Croatian Championships, as well as for the Car Championship of Sports Clubs of Montenegro.
 
The director of this year's international competition is Nenad Bukilica, with deputies Mato Sebalj and Dubravko Ćikor from Croatia.
 
Nenad Bukilica said he expected over 100 drivers from Montenegro and the region. According to him, special attention was paid to the security aspect.
 
"Like every year, the most considerable attention is paid to the safety of both drivers and public, while respecting all demanding standards. Over 200 people participate in the race organization. Given that the race has overcome the national character for years now, we expect several thousand car sports fans to visit Kotor this year," Bukilica emphasized.
 
Legendary champion Željko-Bato Banićević also confirmed participation in the upcoming race.
 
Banićević said that the organization of such a prestigious international sporting event requires significant financial resources.
 
"Due to the specific situation in the Municipality of Kotor, there was no significant help we have compiled, and we are forced to dominantly invest our resources to keep the continuity of what we have been creating for decades. We owe great gratitude to the Ministry of Sport headed by Minister Nikola Janovic, who in such a complicated situation decided to cover a significant part of the event costs, having in mind this race is famous not only for the city of Kotor but also for Montenegro," Banićević said.
 
Banićević explained that the race organization would not have been rounded up entirely without the help of friends and lovers of mountain car races.
 
Technical acceptance and verification of vehicles for MBAT Kotor 2019 are scheduled for Friday, 31 May, from 2 pm to 7 pm, and mechanical inspection on Saturday, 1 June from 8 am to 8.30 am.
 
The first training session is on Saturday, 1 June at noon, and the other is scheduled 30 minutes after the first. On Sunday, after the opening ceremony, the first race runs at 11 am and the second one 30 minutes after the first.
 
On the occasion of MBAT Kotor 2019, the Kotor-Trojica roadway will be closed on 1 June, and 2 June from 8 am to the end of the race.
 
AMSK Kotor won the first place in the overall placement at the first race of this year- the Podi Race in the hinterland of Herceg Novi. The Kotor Race is followed by Glava Zete 22-23 June, Lovćen 5 - 6 July, Pljevlja 24-25 August, and Dubrovnik 5-6 October.
 
22 May 2019, 16:35 PM

Basketball players of Buducnost Voli dominantly won the first match of the final series for the Montenegrin champions title - they defeated Mornar, the defender of the title, with a score 102:68.

From the beginning it was a one-way match. The "Blue" was all over the place, with good shots and play, and the guests were powerless to follow the rhythm of their rivals.

With a series of 12:0, Buducnost lead at the half with 48:26.

The most efficient was Edwin Jackson with 19 points, Sead Sehovic scored 16, while Nikola Rebic was the only one who scored double-digits for Mornar - 14.

The second game is played on Thursday in Bar.

Text by Vijesti sport, on May 21st, 2019, read more at Vijesti

22 May 2019, 01:05 AM

20 May 2019 - From May 21, Podgorica has a new multifunctional sports hall – Bemax Arena, with over 2200 seats and the most popular accompanying contents, which will be another new sports facility within Sports Centre Morača.

In addition to the existing infrastructure, additional stands will be introduced from all four sides of the hall. In this way, Podgorica will have another facility for indoor sports such as basketball, volleyball, handball, futsal and martial arts. Bemax Arena will relieve the big sports centre hall and create more comfortable conditions for training processes and official matches for a number of sports teams.

Also, the new hall will have a pool and many accompanying contents according to European standards. For the first time in Montenegro, cameras will be installed in the hall, which will enable the option to watch games and concerts via the Internet. The hall will have the most modern light and sound computerized effects.

Bemax Arena within Morača Sports Centre Opened on Independence Day May 21 2

With the opening of Bemax Arena, Podgorica will receive a new impressive sports facility, a venue built according to the most modern standards. The largest Montenegrin construction company, LLC Bemax donated the funds necessary to complete this multifunctional hall, to the Basketball Association of Montenegro, so that Podgorica will have another space for indoor sports. This donation resulted in a private-public partnership between the two organizations.

According to Bemax’s spokesperson, in addition to the hall, the newly built centre has a subterranean space and gallery space. The hall consists of four floors. The dressing rooms for the teams, which are fully furnished, spacious, with underfloor heating, toilets and showers, are located on the lowest floor. This floor also includes the dressing rooms for judges, doping control room, handy toilets, and massage rooms. The floor above has a modern gym, equipped with high-quality equipment and special multifunctional space, which can be used for individual, group training, aerobics, fitness and the like. Otherwise, the gym also has a separate entrance from the outside, so it will be available to all citizens of Podgorica who prefer this type of recreation. There is also a VIP dressing room which, in case a special event is organized at the venue, will be a special place for singers, dancers, musicians and actors. This dressing room has its own lounge, wardrobe, toilet and make-up room. There is also a press conference room at this level.

Bemax Arena within Morača Sports Centre Opened on Independence Day May 21

The ground floor contains a special hall through which the audience can reach the main stands. The Bemax’s representatives emphasized that all entrances and rooms are adapted for people with special needs. There is also an entrance for journalists and VIP guests, from which individuals can enter the VIP Lodge, which contains an exclusive lounge.

In the gallery section, there is a room for journalists and camera operators, and in the second part, there is a control room from which the hall is managed. There is also a separate entrance for the parter, because the company made a stairway to the lower plate from which individuals can enter the hall.

Bemax Arena, within the Morača Sports Centre in Podgorica, was officially opened on May 21 at 7 pm. The Arena was opened by the Mayor of Podgorica Ivan Vuković and the President of the Basketball Federation of Montenegro Veselin Barović.

 

Data acquired from Official Website of Bemax LLC.

20 May 2019, 15:45 PM

Mornar is the second finalist of this year's Erste Superleague, and their defense of the title starts on Tuesday in Podgorica against Buducnost Voli.

The team from Bar won the third match against Sutjeska 83:75 (24:23, 18:28, 26:11, 15:13), and were better than the team from Niksic for the third time in five matches this season.

As in the first match in Bar, Mornar broke Sutjeska in the second half, with Niksic up nine points (51:42), while in the first match it was a tie before the half.

Mornar made a turn in the third sequence, after which they were up 68:62, but Sutjeska was in the game until the last quarter (72:70). However, Mihail Pavicevic's players, who played the third match without injured Nemanja Vranjes and captain Marko Mijovic, with a series of 11:0 made the score 83:70, just over two minutes before the end.

Nikola Rebić scored 23 points, Marko Mugosa 21, and Uros Lukovic 20.

Nikola Pavlicevic scored 21 points for the defeated team, with 18 in the first half. Radosav Spasojevic scored 15 and Drasko Knezevic 12.

The final series between Buducnost and Mornar is the best of three. 

Text by Sasa Joncic, on May 19th, 2019, read more at Vijesti

18 May 2019, 23:37 PM

18 May 2019 - On May 18, President of Budva Marko Carević opened the XI European Ju-Jitsu Cup 'Budva Open 2019'. Over 350 competitors from eight different countries are taking part in this competition.

The cup was organized by the Ju-Jitsu Federation of Montenegro and the Ju-Jitsu Club Budva, under the auspices of the Municipality of Budva.

The opening ceremony was attended by members of the European and world Ju-Jitsu federations. The goal of the organizer is to respect all the criteria of the European Federation. The biggest problem is in this case finances, and the representatives of Montenegrin Ju-Jitsu Federation hope that this problem was overcome with the help of the local government.

Carević said that the Ju-Jitsu Cup Budva Open 2019 is a tournament that the European Federation of Ju-Jitsu declared one of the three best tournaments in Europe and awarded it with the title of the European Qualifier at its congress in Almeria. As Budva’s president explained, this accomplishment is a great recognition to the Budva Ju-Jitsu Club, but also for the Budva Municipality as well.

"The municipality is proud of the accomplishments of the Budva Ju-Jitsu Club and will continue to support its work," said the president at the opening of the Cup, wishing the contestants to enjoy competing in this ancient sport and to make their best efforts to win.

Budva Open 2019 is being organized at the Sports Centre Rea in Budva. Clubs from several European countries have announced their participation in the Cup. Clubs from Poland, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republika Srpska and Montenegro are particularly prominent.

The event itself is a great honour and privilege for the development of Ju-Jitsu in Montenegro because it will be a great test through which the European public will once again be able to get acquainted with the efforts of the Montenegrin Ju-Jitsu Federation and Budva Ju-Jitsu Club.

Source: RTV Budva

16 May 2019, 16:15 PM

The Basketball players of Buducnost lead 1-0 in the semi-final of the Erste Superliga, as they took advantage of the home court against Lovcen (97:90).

The team from Podgorica, who saw Nemanja Gordic play again (only Petar Popović was missing), gained the victory by hard work and had a one-point advantage (42:41) at the half.

The uncertainty lasted even further, and the decision was made in the very end. At the score of 93:90 for home team, Milutin Djukanovic missed an open three-points for a tie with one minute and a half before the end, and in the next attack Filip Barovic scored for 95:90, and then Lovcen missed another attack.

Sead Sehovic was the last one to score points, though the guests refused to defend the last attack, and almost all the players started to greet each other. The slam dunk of young Sehovic, in the end, justified the nervousness of the guests.

"I did not randomly say that Lovcen is a tough team, well trained, which knows what it wants in both directions. We have continued the trend of a pretty much soft defense, we have received 90 points from Lovcen at home, and until the end, we cannot have a lighter solution to any match," said Buducnost coach Petar Mijovic after the match.

"The other players, realistically, are overwhelmed with all that this season has brought. The calendar is congested; they play every other day, and, believe it, despite the severe dissatisfaction with the way we function in the defense, many are on the brink of power. In this situation, we are looking at how to refresh them well and wait for the next match with a full squad. The match was extremely tough and hard, at some moments when we took control of the game in our hands, Lovcen returned with an extraordinary percentage of three-pointers and punished our defensive ideas. So now, we will have a playoff, and getting half of a point or 40 points difference, in any case, we have a lead of 1:0," added Mijovic.

Text by Sasa Joncic, on May 15th, 2019, read more at Vijesti

13 May 2019, 15:35 PM

Contestants from five continents and 41 countries around the world competed in Kotor at the fourth triathlon Ocean Lava Montenegro.

Each of these 600 participants in the “Half Ironman” race is inspired by passion and will, and the limits are just in each of us, as proved by the contestants of the "Sasfit Team" from Turkey.

Paralympians Mustafa Sar, Enes Gunel and Burak Abadjol competed in the relay-race category: Mustafa, a competitor with no arms, swan a distance of 1.9 kilometers. Burak, who has an inherent problem with his right hand, ran the whole semi-marathon i.e., 21 kilometers. Enes is immobile and drove a bicycle on a trail 90 kilometers long.


Mustafa was born without arms. He's practiced sports for nine years, out of which five professionally.

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"I began swimming following a recommendation by my doctor, who thought that this sport would help me because of spinal scoliosis," the Turkish Paralympics said to "Vijesti".

Sport as therapy is also recommended to another member of the "Sasfit team", 32-year-old competitor Buraku, whose disability is the result of his mother's difficult birth.

Burak's right arm was not fully developed and for years he could not use it.

"I had surgery eight times. I've practiced sports for 14 years, of which nine as a professional. For years I have played football at a club for disabilities. In one of them, I was a goalkeeper for eight years," Burak said.

He also added that, apart from being engaged in sports, he studied economics at the University of Istanbul, after which he completed postgraduate studies in sociology and sports law.

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"I do not allow my physical disability to be a barrier to anything in my life," he said in his profile on Linkedin.

Thee Sasfit team from Turkey was supposed also include 27-year-old Abdulkadir Uzol, a competitor with one foot who for years successfully participated in the cycling races.

Abdulkadir did not arrive in Kotor because of the wedding plans, and 29-year-old Enes Gunel replaced him in the relay-race. Enes rode the Triathlon in Kotor with a special bicycle made for paraplegics or persons with spine injuries.

This young man started an active sports career at the age of six. He practiced swimming, basketball, and volleyball. In February 2012, Enes experienced an accident at a snowboarding show, when he suffered a substantial spinal injury, which is why he is immobile today.

After the long recovery, he decided to return to the sport. Aware that some of them were no longer possible because of his immobility, he went for cycling.

His bicycle came from the United States in 2015 as a donation, and Enes has been active since then. He plans to represent Turkey at the Paralympics Games in Tokyo in 2020.

"Paraplegia often makes me depend on others... Still, I would recommend everyone in a similar situation to not give up and to work hard on themselves. Even when it is certain that the full recovery is impossible - do not give up," he said.

Paralympians like thee Turkish athletes are not new to the Ocean Lava Montenegro competition.

Two years ago in Kotor, among the 300 contestants at the time, there was Honzu Tomanek from the Czech Republic. Tomanek was also the first paraplegic to take part in a triathlon competition in Montenegro in the first year after Paratriathlon, at the Paralympics Games in Rio 2016, and was officially entered on the list of Paralympic sports.

Triathlon has been in the Olympic Games program since 2000.

"The world is driven by passion," is the official message of Ocean Lava's organizers.

An important life lesson 

Triathlon contestant Igor Majer, the founder of the Sports Academy "Mayer", who is also the organizer of the competition in Kotor, says that what for other contest organizers may be a problem, for him is a challenge. The Turkish contestants contacted him a few months ago with a list of demands. "I've provided everything they requested. Nothing of this complicates my organization, I love everything I do, I like to show others that borders are just in ourselves and it is my pleasure to host such competitors who can show everyone that the world is driven by passion and will, and that the borders are only in our heads. I am sure that today in Kotor, all the participants of the race and fans will learn an important life lesson," said Majer to “Vijesti”, "convinced that with their example and participation in the race Mustafa, Enes and Burak will be an inspiration to others so they can change their life for the better. 

Text by Damira Kalac, on May 12th, 2019, read more at Vijesti

10 May 2019, 12:21 PM

May 10, 2019 - The weekend ahead will feature Ocean Lava Montenegro, a triathlon race that is part of a world series of over 20 competitions in 17 countries. The Montenegrin edition is growing year by year, and after last year's competition, which gathered together 480 competitors from 38 countries, this weekend in Kotor the race will see 600 triathletes from about 50 countries of the world.  

Triathlons are experiencing a significant expansion all over the world, and one of the reasons is the fact that it is extremely suitable for people of all ages. For the fourth edition of Ocean Lava Montenegro, the average age of competitors is 39 years, explains Igor Majer, the man, responsible for the fact Montenegro became one of the destinations of the famous Ocean Lava Triathlon Series. Igor’s Multi-Sport Academia Majer ensured support by a lot of local institutions, businesses and NGOs recognizing this event has high potential, not only in a sport but also in an economic sense.
 
ocean lava igor majerIgor Majer, Ocean Lava Montenegro Director, Copyright: Ocean Lava Montenegro
 
“Participants are coming from all over the world. And, they are not coming just for the weekend when the race is taking place, but usually earlier to discover the destination and organize some training. Not only individuals but whole groups are coming. For example, we know few private camps are organized in Boka Bay before this race,” explains Majer, giving us the data that for the occasion of last year’s Ocean Lava race, competitors and their companions realized more than 12,000 overnight stays in Kotor.
 
ocean lava montenegroOcean Lava Montenegro is the only triathlon race taking place of all its segments in UNESCO site, Copyright: Ocean Lava Montenegro FB page
 
“From year to year, good news spreads, and what is most important in attracting new competitors is the uniqueness of our cultural ambiance and the wonderful ambiance in which all segments of the race take place. Such a huge increase in the number of competitors from year to year is not characteristic of triathlon races elsewhere in the world. Race organizers usually rely on domestic competitors and participants from the surrounding countries. What is interesting for our race, besides the fact that there is a small number of triathletes in Montenegro, is that only one quarter of the registered competitors come from the surrounding countries, which means that as many as 75% of triathletes come from all over the world,” says Majer, explaining that it was a significant challenge for the organizers. A unique problem is the unavailability of Montenegro as a destination, the absence of low-cost flights outside the primary tourist season, and poor road and sports infrastructure.
 
Ocean Lava Montenegro is one of the most popular Ocean Lava races in general. “The race in Montenegro is a world exclusive. It is the only race in the world which all segments take part in the UNESCO World Heritage Site,” Majer emphases. “The beautiful cultural landscape has given us fantastic photos from our competitions, which are sent to the world.” The race is being followed by a lot of international reporters, among them the Reuters journalist who is coming to every Montenegrin edition of the competition.
 
Ocean Lava Montenegro, apart from being an opportunity to present Boka bay as a destination for the global market, can also help us in Boka to recognize the potential for active tourism development, and that is sports tourism.
 
“I can speak from personal experience, as a traveler and participant of numerous competitions in all meridians, therefore, the user of sports tourism and as the organizer of this race since 2016. Six hundred competitors bring us three thousand people to Kotor because of our race. Some of them are here with their families since the middle of April to discover the destination and practice. Based on last year’s De Facto Consultancy agency survey, on average, with one participant in the race in Kotor, four people stayed on average for five days. We have noted that a large number of triathletes also stayed for several weeks. Based on information from social networks, a large number of these people return to Montenegro, especially for winter training. The microclimatic conditions in Boka, the protection of the waters of the bay, make people feel quite safe here. These are the conditions that most European countries cannot provide even during the summer months,” says an experienced triathlete, the race director and the president of the Triathlon Federation of Montenegro.
 
ocean lava montenegro swimmingFrom the third Ocean Lava Montenegro Edition, Copyright: Ocean Lava Montenegro
 
In addition to the big race scheduled for Sunday, Ocean Lava Montenegro has organized a children’s competition since last year. “The Children’s Race is organized by the desire to transfer part of this project to the local community. The fact is that such complex events cannot be based on the enthusiasm and professionalism of a small number of people. The organization of this year’s edition of the race includes over 400 volunteers, who participate directly or indirectly. One way to thank them for all the support and assistance is to organize a backup event that is primarily directed at the local community. The race for children has a humanitarian character. Last year we donated funds to the Children Department of the General Hospital in Kotor, and we will decide after the race who will be beneficiary this year. It’s important for kids to sense the racing plane, where a day later, on Sunday, triathletes will pass and achieve excellent results. In this way, we think to inspire children for a healthier, more active life,” says Igor Majer.
 
ocean lava kidsOcean Lava Montenegro from the last year includes a kid's race
 
A triathlon consists of swimming, cycling and running. Montenegrin organizers decided on longer and harder distances, and therefore triathletes will have to swim the length of 1900m, ride 90km of bike trails and run 21km. 
 
“This is one of the most successful races from the complete Ocean Lava series. The unrecorded and unprecedented growth of this race talks about quality. It is also supported by the fact that the conceptual Ocean Lava creator, Kenneth Gasque from Danmark, who is also the first European to bring Ironman from North America to Europe, will be our honorary guest in Kotor again. After the last year competition, he said the Montenegrin race seems to be more exciting even from the final race, being traditionally organized on Lanzarote Island,” says Igor Majer.
 
ocean lava kenethThe Ocean Lava Series Founder, Kenneth Gasque, Copyright: Ocean Lava Montenegro
 
Because of the race, the traffic on the only road along Kotor Bay will be halted on Sunday in several periods. From 7 to 12 am, traffic will be suspended entirely from the road Kotor- Kamenari to ensure the safety of even 600 cyclists who will ride here. Traffic participants will be informed in detail, both through the public media and info tables, which will be placed tomorrow along the entire race length.
 
08 May 2019, 15:29 PM

Thanks to his efforts on Buducnost, Goga Bitadze won the “Rising Star Trophy" of the European League.

The young, 19-year-old Georgian has shown outstanding potential in only 13 games, with an average of 12.1 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per match, with an average score of 16.3.

Because of a small number of games played, he could not compete for the MVP season title.

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The great names of European and world basketball have won the "Rising Star Trophy".

For the past two years, it was Luka Doncic, earlier Rudi Fernandes, Danilo Gallinari, Ricky Rubio, Nikola Mirotic, and Bogdan Bogdanovic.

At the end of the ABA League, Bitadze left Buducnost and returned to “Mega Bemax”.

The draft and a high place in the NBA lottery are awaiting him in June.

Text by Vijesti Sport, on May 7th, 2019, read more at Vijesti

02 May 2019, 13:38 PM

After the fourth round, only one team will be without defeats in the Erste Super league - Mornar or Buducnost Voli. They played the fourth mutual duel this season in "Topolica" (free entry) on Wednesday night.

Buducnost won all three previous games, two in the league section of the ABA league (in Bar 99:95, in Podgorica 102: 71), and also celebrated in the semi-finals of the Montenegrin Cup in Podgorica with 92:82. Except twice in the Super league, Mornar and Buducnost could meet five times in the eventual (and expected) final series of the play-off.

"Needless to say, Buducnost is an absolute favorite and is by far the best Montenegrin team. Our duels have been interesting for several years, and I would like them to be as uncertain as last year, but this is almost impossible to expect because Buducnost is at a much higher level than we are. We are not even close to the last year’s level. Of course, we will do our best to provide good resistance and give basketball lovers in Montenegro a great show so that we can all enjoy basketball together. It is important to bring back the story about basketball because I will not comment on anything else. I hope that the people who come to watch the match, as well as the ones in front of the TV screens, will enjoy the basketball skills of both teams, but I repeat, Buducnost is the absolute favorite in the upcoming match," said the coach of the team from Bar, Mihailo Pavicevic.

Mornar, who in the last season with a 3:1 in the final series, took the title from Buducnost, in first three rounds entered victories against Jedinstvo (102: 80), Ulcinj (85:78) and last against Sutjeska (106: 87).

"Considering the way we played the first two games, we defeated Sutjeska a lot easier than I had hoped. I was expecting a much tougher match, and I was pleasantly surprised by my players and they played the best game so far in the Super League and it gives me hope that we can raise the level of the game, to make the Montenegrin Championship as interesting as possible. I particularly look forward to a good game and a positive approach by the players who enter the game from the bench as well as young players," Pavicevic added.

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MIJOVIĆ WORRIED ABOUT INJURIES

Buducnost has entered three victories, all convincing ones, against Lovcen (104: 78), Jedinstvo (105: 77) and Ulcinj (110: 63).

"It seems to me that the team has reacted a little better than I expected, especially when it comes to motivation and concentration, all of which resulted in all three games entering a relatively light victory. I'm happy on that side," says Buducnost coach Petar Mijovic for "Vijesti".

As he says, the derby will show where Buducnost and Mornar stand currently.

"To win in Bar, it is necessary to be the best since the beginning of the Super League, to have the maximum concentration, the focus in all 40 minutes. It is necessary that some of the things that represented the problem, especially in the defense, are at a significantly higher level because the quality of Mornar’s players is such that they will punish all that is missing. We are preparing very seriously, for a serious opponent, and I hope that we can continue with the victories in Bar," adds Mijovic, who highly appreciates the team of Mornar.

"For the last few years, Buducnost and Mornar play the big derbies of Montenegrin basketball. Mornar is the only team, who, since independence, managed to take the title next to Buducnost, which was a surprise last season. Mornar is in very good shape this season, after a good season, and surely they will again be the biggest opponent for the title."

ULCINJ AND JEDINSTVO SEEK THEIR FIRST VICTORIES

In the shadow of the derby in Bar, two more games are played. After three rounds, only Jedinstvo and Ulcinj are with no victories. The team from Ulcinj will be the first to try to register a win at home against Lovcen, who they lost to twice in the Erste League (73:54 at home, 83:75 in Cetinje).

"After a slightly slower start, we have achieved an important victory on our field, and now we will play against a very good team from Ulcinj who played in front of their supporters with one ball against Sutjeska and Mornar. We have trouble with injuries on the outside positions, but I am certain that whoever gets out on the field will give their maximum. We have to be focused during all 40 minutes to break the resistance of the team from Ulcinj, we know it will not be easy, but we want to achieve another victory that would mean a lot to us in the race for the first four places," Masan Vrbica said.

A much more difficult job is awaiting Jedinstvo, who play away in Sutjeska. The team from Bijelo Polje won at home against Sutjeska (78:70) in the league section of the Erste League, but lost in Niksic (93:68).

Text by Sasa Joncic, on May 1st, 2019, read more at Vijesti

29 Apr 2019, 21:55 PM

Natasa Orbovic from Niksic knew that she was destined for sport; she just needed to discover which one. She was patient and at the age of 12, she realized that the struggle under the basketball hoop made her feel awesome. As a kid, she dreamed of being a teacher one day and of teaching children. She succeeded in doing both.

She was a member of the national team of Montenegro in basketball, works as a teacher at the Primary School "Bozidar Vukovic Podgoricanin" in Podgorica, and is one of three women international judges in Montenegro.

This young woman from Niksic, who loves basketball, admits that she is glad that while she was still a little girl, she knew how to choose the right things that later proved to be correct.

"I've always been skilfull in sports with a ball and have participated in school competitions, so I knew I was going to be in one of them, and during that time of growing up I was most fond of basketball. My dedication to the training and my will led me to soon become a member of the national team of Montenegro in the cadets, juniors and young selections, as well as part of the start-up team of the Niksic team Roling which competed in the first league," says a girl who never had a certain basketball idol but struggled to pick up good elements and features of the top players of that time.

She has practiced basketball for nine years, and the first match is forever embedded in her memory.

"Of course, I remember the first game, I did not have tremendous nerves, and maybe that's one of the reasons I've been excited to do this because I felt comfortable on the court from the first moment. In addition to all the games I played in the club and the national team, and which are extremely dear to me, I would set apart the first when we, like exhilarating girls, ran on the court with the ball for the first time. That excitement and emotions are remembered for a lifetime."

She says that when basketball is concerned, she did not set any high goals because she had obligations at the faculty and towards her family, but fulfilled all her plans - she played the final matches and championships and the Cup of Montenegro and participated in the European Championship with the national selections:

"I did not set my goals high as a player and was not committed to making an international career. For this reason, there are no gaps in me and the lack of fulfillment in my career."

However, Natasa cannot live without basketball. She replaced the ball with a whistle and is doing well.

"I worked as an assistant judge - a record keeper at many matches in Niksic and after I was encouraged by my senior colleagues, experienced judges from Niksic, Igor Janjusevic and late Goran Vojinovic, I began to referee, together with them. After the first match, I felt great in the role of a judge, and it was very easy for me". Though it is harder for women than men to be a judge, this has given her the incentive to prove to the disbelievers that even women can execute the job of a judge "at an enviable level."

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"In the beginning, it was difficult for players and coaches to adapt to women's judges, and now it's all normal because we showed with our commitment, good decision making and attitude that we can do this job in line with our male colleagues."

She is the judge in the First and Second Men's League, the First Women's League, and has also judged the matches of the Women's Regional Waba League. At the end of May, she will have the chance to perform referee at the Games of Small Countries of Europe.

Working with children is an unimaginable pleasure

Natasa works in schools for three and a half years, two of which have been in the elementary school "Bozidar Vukovic Podgoricanin". She is grateful to her colleague and director Ljubinka Nedic for helping her to incorporate judging and teaching.

"As a girl, when I would play school with my friends, I would always be the one who wanted to be a teacher. It followed me growing up and in the subconscious, I knew this would be my profession. Now, after three and a half years of school work, I know I have not made a mistake in choosing my profession, and I enjoy working with children as well as be in their company. The children know that their teacher is a basketball judge and even though I do not talk to them about this topic, I somehow feel they are proud that their teacher is an athlete, as well."

Since both her jobs are dear to her, she could not choose only one, and as she says, she will try to make progress "on both fronts - in the classroom and the field." She hopes to succeed in that, and the results will not lack.

Goal - European and World competitions

Until this year in Montenegro, there were no female international judges. One month ago, we gained three of them - besides Natasa, there are Ivana Radinovic from Podgorica and Suzana Vujicic from Herceg Novi.

"Every game is a story in itself. Each carries a particular risk and you can always expect the unexpected. I have not had major problems in my career so far and I hope it will stay that way. Judging brings us a lot of traveling alongside new acquaintances and friendships. Unlike when I was a player, this time I set the goals really high and I want to judge at all the bigger European and world competitions one day. Since I walked to the international scene as very young, I'm hoping to achieve it. Of course, the support that the three of us have from the Basketball Association of Montenegro, the National Instructor Zoran Sutulovic and the Montenegrin Basketball Judge Association is, of course, an essential factor.

Text by Svetlana Mandic, on April 28th, 2019, read more at Vijesti

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