Although Serbia has the best national water polo team in the world, the country could not provide a proper swimming pool to these champions to train in before the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Back in 2016, the former water polo player and now Sports Minister, Vanja Udovičić, attended a groundbreaking ceremony that marked the construction of a Water Polo Training Centre in Vrnjačka Banja. The Centre has not been finished to this day, five years on, with the Serbian President, Aleksandar Vučić, taking responsibility for it.
After the 2016 European Championship, when the Serbian water polo team won yet another European champion title, it was decided that a state-of-the-art training centre would be built in Vrnjačka Banja.
“I have been hearing stories about the Training Centre for a long time, for many years, and today as Minister of Youth and Sports I have the opportunity to really start working on the project,” Minister Vanja Udovičić said back in 2016.
Today, however, the National Water Polo Centre in Vrnjačka Banja seems to be abandoned. Nobody knows whether the swimming pools are usable, there are weeds growing and even the groundbreaking ceremony was not completed, let alone set deadlines met.
“Everyone is vocal about being proud of our players after they win a competition, especially winning the Olympic gold, but we have been waiting to have proper training facilities for at least 20 years,” says the former member of the Serbian water polo team, Danilo Ikodinović.
It was precisely because of the lack of a proper training pool that the Serbian water polo team had to go to Slovenia to prepare for the Olympics.
“The Slovenians are now boasting about how they are the ones that prepared future Olympic champions and rightly so. We could have had great training conditions here, in Vrnjačka Banja. The National Training Centre could have been useful to everyone –recreational swimmers, semi-amateurs, students and the national team. It would have been much more profitable than building a 250-million-euro football stadium,” Ikodinović adds.
Every year or during election campaigns, politicians give the same promises about completing the facility in Vrnjačka Banja but nothing has been done so far.
This post is also available in: Italiano