Serbs are super athletes
Since I returned to Serbia, many of my friends from Russia have come to visit me in Belgrade. And many of them have moved here now. In addition to the wonderful impressions about the climate and food, I am most interested in their impressions about the external features of Serbian men and women, so to speak. Comments are always like “Oh, what a tall nation you are”, “What delicious women you have”, “How healthy you look”… I know these phrases sound like we’re at a cattle fair, but in fact, these are comments I’ve heard many times. By the way, they also spoke positively about our teeth. And then there is the connection – “Well, yes, that’s why you are so successful in sports”
I have never linked such things, but in fact we are a sports nation. I do not know if it will thank the genes, the climate in which we live, or the food we eat, or all together. I know that, considering that we are a small country, we have always had enviable results in sports at the world level.
Novak Djokovic became the first person in the 21st century who connected Serbia and sport. Novak is our pride and our joy. He spent 373 weeks at the top of the ATP list, which is the longest period in the history of the open era. Many tennis critics, former players and teammates consider Djokovic one of the best tennis players in history. Novak loves Serbia very much and does not miss the opportunity to show it. In addition, Novak opened the Novak Tennis Center in Belgrade, which is located on Dorcol, as part of the Milan Gale Muskatirovic Sports Center, in the beautiful surroundings of the Kalemegdan Fortress and the Nebojsa Tower, as well as near the confluence of the two Sava and Danube rivers. Since 2009, ATP tournaments have been held on the courts of its center. In addition to being recognized as the best athlete and tennis player in Serbia and the world, Djokovic was awarded the Order of the Star of Karadjorje, the Order of St. Sava from the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Order of the Republika Srpska. Novak is also the founder of the Novak Djokovic Foundation, which is actively engaged in helping children in socially disadvantaged areas, as well as other humanitarian actions.
It should be said that the Milan Gale Muskatirovic Sports Center is known for its swimming pools, where one of the best water polo clubs in the country, PArtizan, trains. In addition to the Partizan there is an eternal rival – the “Red Star” water polo club. Athletes and coaches of Partizan have been carriers of work in national selections for more than a decade. The black and white players of the first team and the players born in Partizan have been the most numerous in our national team for many years. In 1986, for his work and merits in the field of sports, VK Partizan was awarded the Order of Merit to the People. Serbia became the water polo world champion 5 times. Of course, the Serbs also had swimming champions. Milorad Cavic is a Serbian swimmer, winner of medals in the most important competitions. At the European Championships in Eindhoven in March 2008, Cavich won the gold medal in the 50 m butterfly swimming, breaking the European record twice in two days. The European Swimming Federation disqualified Cavic from further competitions in Eindhoven, including the 100 m butterfly, for wearing a T—shirt with the inscription “Kosovo is Serbia” while receiving the medal. Meanwhile, the disqualification was suspended, and his record was recognized.
Chess is quite popular in Serbia, people love to play it so much that even in city parks there are chess boards where people come with their pieces and compete in the game. 11,136 Serbian chess players are registered on the page of the International Chess Federation! The best of them are Robert Markus, who ranks first in Serbia and 116th in the world among the current players, grandmaster Alexander Incic is on the list of 178, and in 2023 he will represent Serbia at the World Championship.
Boxing in Serbia is not as popular as football or basketball, but the boxing tradition in Serbia can be envied. Radnicki Boxing Club is the oldest boxing club in Serbia with more than 100 years of tradition. It was founded in 1920. Winner of 10 national champion titles, thirty-eight individual national champion titles, two World Championship medals. Radnicki boxers have won prizes at tournaments around the world, won the Golden Glove and the Winner of Belgrade. This is partly due to the fearless boxers who came here from the largest country in the world – Russia: Tamir Galanov (category 54 kg), Vahid Abbasov 67 kg, Pavel Fedorov 63.5 kg, Vladimir Mironcikov 80 kg, Sadam Magomedov 92 kg. The Russians chose Serbia, they chose to proudly wear our tricolor and fight under the flag of a country that is inextricably linked with their homeland.
We also excel in athletics! At the age of 17, Angelina Topic became the youngest medalist of the 2022 World High Jump Championship. Ivana Shpanovich Vuleta competes in the long jump, she won a gold medal in 2017 at the European Championships and a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games. Ivana holds the absolute record for the women ‘s long jump in the history of Serbian athletics
And now… the favorite of the nation is basketball! Serbs love basketball, and no park in Serbia, let alone Belgrade or a school yard, can be imagined without a basketball ring. Each generation produces several “golden boys” who always respond with joy when they need to play for the national team, so when they gather from all over the world under the Serbian flag, success is guaranteed. Our basketball players, have reached the NBA league: Nikola Jokic “the Joker” twice received the award of the most useful player in the NBA league, won NBA finals in 2023 with Denver and became MVP. There are also Bogdan Bogdanovic, Nemanja Bjelica, Boban Marjanovic…
As for winter sports, we have no great success, but we have excellent ski resorts! Kopaonik Mountain is known in Serbia as the Silver Mountain, and is also the largest ski center in Serbia, where at one time there was a ski school “Beli” under the guidance of Professor Milivoj Simic, who wrote a textbook on mountain skiing “Theory and methodology of skiing”. The ski resort on Kopaonik Mountain is the main meeting place for all athletes, and in winter for poseurs. On many ski slopes, some hone their skiing skills with excellent instructors, and some take selfies for Instagram. During breaks, both stop at some cafes and restaurants, of which there are many. In winter, the whole of Belgrade moves to Kopaonik, so it’s not surprising that the best parties are organized there. Maybe that’s why we don’t record any enviable successes in winter sports, because it’s hard to resist all these temptations, right?