While national authorities are lifting the measures introduced to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus and sport is slowly resuming in a number of countries, we have caught up with a couple of charismatic Beach Volleyball players, Czech star Marketa Slukova and Mr Skyball Adrian Carambula. Under ordinary circumstances, they would now be touring the world to finalise their preparations for the Tokyo Olympics, but the pandemic has brought competitive sport to a halt. Still, they have plenty of positive energy and good vibes to share, while waiting for some sort of normality to come back soon.
Slukova spoke to us from Los Angeles, where she somehow got stuck at the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, after travelling to California with her husband-coach Simon Nausch and teammate Barbora Hermmanova to prepare for the start of the 2020 season in Mexico. The coronavirus eventually disrupted all of her plans, with many World Tour events cancelled and the Tokyo Olympics postponed until the summer of 2021.
‘Maki’, nevertheless, remains positive, even though she admits she needed some time to adjust to the circumstances and re-arrange her plans. “My wish was to focus on the Olympic season and possibly take a medal in Tokyo before turning my attention to my next big goal, which is to start my own family,” she said. “However, even though it takes more than one full year until the Olympics, I have been able to regroup and for sure I am going to stay around at least until Tokyo 2021. After that, I will focus on starting a family and maybe come back to Beach Volleyball after that. We will see, since I am yet to make up my mind to that extent.”
A two-time Olympian, Slukova acknowledges that her success has helped raise the profile of Beach Volleyball in the Czech Republic to unprecedented heights and she sees herself as some sort of a role model, hoping to inspire the next generation of Czech Beach Volleyball players. She especially cherishes memories of a highly successful 2018 season, when she and partner Hermannova won a number of World Tour events, including a home event in Ostrava and the Vienna Major, plus a bronze medal at EuroBeachVolley to receive the CEV’s award for the ‘Queens of the Beach’ of that year.
Slukova is a true champion of positivity and good vibes. If you watch the full video, you will find out more about her striking personality on and off the court as well as about her love for South Africa, a destination that seems to attract many elite Beach Volleyball players – for the sake of training under ideal conditions but not only…
Adrian Carambula, aka Mr Skyball, spoke from Bern, Switzerland, where he has been staying with his girlfriend since returning from Australia. Born in Uruguay, Adrian moved to the USA by the time he was 13 and eventually transferred to Europe in early 2015. This is when, he admits, he began his real life as a professional athlete and he immediately achieved much success together with former partner Alex Ranghieri, winning silver at #EuroBeachVolley in Klagenfurt that same year before qualifying for the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Now playing with Enrico Rossi and coached by the legendary Marco Solustri, Adrian is using this time of lockdown to reflect and review his evolution as a player throughout the years. He may surprise you when saying that he does not have any recollection as to how he came to use the skyball… Despite coming across as a fun type who received in 2019 the FIVB award for the ‘Most Entertaining Player’ on the World Tour, Adrian stresses that once he takes to the court, he fully focusses on the game and that he is working on adding more and more discipline to his routine.
A huge fan of Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods, Carambula looks forward to competition to resume soon. “I very much hope that we can have a good run of tournaments later this year and in 2021 and we can qualify for the Olympics because I am sure it would be pretty special to be able to compete in Tokyo!”