Paola Egonu celebrates winning a point at last year's FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix Finals in Nanjing, China, where Italy finished second to Brazil.
Lausanne, Switzerland, March 6, 2018 - Paola Egonu first made her mark on the international stage as a 17-year-old at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Despite only making her senior international debut in the same year, she was Italy's outstanding hitter at the event. Quick links - Volleyball:
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Just one year earlier, she had led Italy to the title at the 2015 FIVB Volleyball Girls' U18 World Championship as the Best Outside Spiker and Most Valuable Player. In 2017, the highlight of her year was a silver medal in the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix, at which the talented youngster again confirmed her stunning ability. And she is only at the start of her career.
In an exclusive interview with the FIVB, she talks about the year ahead, including the new FIVB Volleyball Nations League. How important is the new Volleyball Nations League to you and your team this year?
Paola Egonu: The Volleyball Nations League is really important to my team, because it can help us to see what level we are at before the World Championship. Also, it’s a sort of training for my team.
What are your goals for the Volleyball Nations League? Which teams will be your toughest opponents?
Egonu: After the last World Grand Prix, where my team finished second, I think we now know what we are capable of and that if we really work hard we can get a good result and prepare for the World Championship.How important is the Volleyball Nations League as preparation for the World Championships?
Egonu: As I said before, it’s really important, because we play against all the teams that we could meet at the World Championship. In my opinion, it is a way of getting to know the teams and for us to work out a way to beat them in advance.What are your goals for the FIVB World Championships?
Egonu: My goals for the World Championship are to achieve everything we can.
Which of your successes so far do you rate as the biggest?
Egonu: Apart from all my successes with the national team, I think the Coppa Italia was the biggest achievement, as it came at a tough time in the league, when we had been playing a lot and we were tired. But nothing stopped us.
What dreams and goals do you still have as a volleyball player? How long do you want to play for? What are the most important titles you have your sights set on?
Egonu: My biggest dream would be to win the Olympic Games with my team. I don’t know yet how long I could play for!What makes this Italian team so strong?
Egonu: The thing that makes this Italian team strong is the spirit among the young girls, who know how important it is to play for their national team.
Your parents came from Nigeria to Italy. What does your success mean to them?
Egonu: For my parents, it’s like a dream come true!