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2016-06-21 08:28:00 CET

More than sports – The best thing that happened to Croatia

Maja Rosko will play her heart out at Poreč Major and hopes the event will infiltrate the beach volleyball culture in Croatia

Last week Maja Rosko received her Bachelor in Political Science. Since November she has been living in Berlin, working as a beach volleyball coach and loving it.

However, on Monday she flew back home to Croatia because there is a special event waiting for the 24-year-old: next week Maja will play in the main draw at Poreč Major.

At the moment she is preparing herself with Croatian national team coach Grga Trimčevski. “I feel honored and extremely excited to compete against teams at the highest level,” she says. “I’m also happy to have the chance to learn from them.”

A venue above and beyond expectations

Maja, 24, and her usual partner Martina Kovacevic, 21 – who was supposed to play her first-ever Swatch Majors Series tournament as a senior in Poreč – was Croatia’s number one women’s team at the Poreč Major. Unfortunately, Martina had to withdraw her participation due to an injury. Maja is going to run for gold with temporary partner Nikolina Jelic. For Maja, the Poreč Major will be only her fourth World Tour event, having previously played with Antea Tadic at the Gstaad Major last year, the Lucerne Open and, of course, at the Poreč Major. “It was a great venue with great players, atmosphere and top level organization,” she raves. “The venue was even beyond my expectations. One of a kind. This year, I am sure it is going to be even bigger and better with even more people coming to watch top level beach volleyball.”

Red Bull Air Race pilot Matthias Dolderer and Croatian beach volleyball star Maja Rosko. Credit: Pedrag Vuckovic/Red Bull Content Pool.Red Bull Air Race pilot Matthias Dolderer and Croatian beach volleyball star Maja Rosko. Credit: Pedrag Vuckovic/Red Bull Content Pool.

Maja started playing beach volleyball seven years ago. “From the first moment I fell in love and stopped playing indoor volleyball,” she says. Since then she has trained during the Summer and played tournaments in other countries. She competed in few youth championships and also for the Continental Cup. She also entered an athletics scholarship to play beach volleyball and competed for Florida International University in Miami. “I learned so much there,” she remembers.

Dreaming of a match against Larissa/Talita

Until now Maja never won a set in a match on the World Tour, but that is not her biggest goal, she says. “My hopes for the tournament are to be the best I can be, to represent my country honorably, to play my heart out, to get experience,” she says. “For me, this is a learning process.” One day, she would love to play against Larissa and Talita, she tells us. “They are the team I look up to I love and admire Brazilian school of beach volleyball, their habits, mentality and determination.”

Maja Rosko of Croatia (rechts) is aiming to deliver an entertaining show for the Croatian fans. Photocredit: FIVB.Maja Rosko of Croatia (rechts) is aiming to deliver an entertaining show for the Croatian fans. Photocredit: FIVB.

Maybe her dream will come true at the Poreč Major. Naturally she can’t compete with the professional players who practice every day under professional conditions. In Croatia, there is not even an indoor beach volleyball facility, so the teams can only practice during summer. “If that changed, we would have appropriate conditions to take it to the next level,” she thinks.

The mentality will change

And Maja also believes the Poreč Major can help with that. “The competition is the best thing that has happened to Croatia,” she says. Not only because it already popularized the sport in her country – but also because it brought more eyes and ears to the world of beach volleyball. “The mentality will change,” says Maja, hopefully. “The Poreč Major will infiltrate the beach volleyball culture in Croatia.”

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