Lausanne, Switzerland, October 22, 2018 – Serbian supporters celebrated the return of the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship winners in Belgrade on Sunday. There were loud cheers and applause from fans, families and members of the press when the Serbian team arrived at Belgrade's Nikola Tesla airport.
Serbia won their first World Championship trophy on Saturday by beating Italy in a thrilling five-setter in Yokohama, Japan. Players and team officials continued their celebrations at Belgrade's Hotel M, where volleyball officials and supporters praised the team’s historic achievement.
Serbia coach Zoran Terzic said: “Of course, immediately after the match you don’t know where you are, you have a lot of mixed feelings, and you cannot grasp the meaning of your achievement. Certainly, this is a historic result, it will last forever. Look, two years ago we were thinking about an Olympic medal in terms of trophies that we were still missing, at the time. Now, everybody is talking about the Olympic gold, as the only medal we haven’t won yet. And it is good, it means that we are progressing. I say to my players, it is good to be on top, but after a while you start thinking what’s next. Now it is the time to enjoy, but soon we will have to sit and talk about our future motivation. I am sure that this generation of players has a lot more to show and achieve in the world of volleyball.”
Serbia captain Maja Ognjenovic said: “The semifinal match against the Dutch was the hardest match in my career, and I've said that already, with lots of ups and downs, and nerves involved. The final was to enjoy, but overall, the whole tournament was stressful, we were a whole month in Japan, changing cities, adjusting every couple of days, and this gold medal is a product of very serious and hard work. Now we have established ourselves as one of the greatest teams in volleyball, and this is something precious, especially for me as I was the only one in Japan in 2006, when we took the bronze at the World Championship and presented ourselves to the whole planet as one of the sport's up-and-coming teams. Twelve years later, we have conquered almost everything there is to conquer. It is truly amazing. Now, we are aiming for the Olympic Gold, and I do not see any reason why each and every one of us wouldn’t want to try to make this dream come true.”
Meanwhile, silver medallists Italy were also welcomed by a huge crowd of enthusiastic fans at the Malpensa Airport in Milan to celebrate their first podium finish since winning the World Championship title in 2002 in Germany.