Home » INTERVIEW: Heynen for WoV – “I feel sorry for Japan, but it’s logical decision”

INTERVIEW: Heynen for WoV – “I feel sorry for Japan, but it’s logical decision”

by WoV
source: Photo: CEV, MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/sport.onet.pl

Vital Heynen was certainly one of the volleyball coaches that were most eagerly looking forward to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics because the national team which he commands was one of the major favorites to win the medal. Why not say – the gold medal.



Now, when the Olympics were rescheduled for 2021 due to coronavirus pandemic, Heynen will have to delay his gold medal dreams with the Poland Men’s National Team for one year. However, humanity is facing a situation that’s more important than every aspect of living, including sports. The Belgian expert is fully aware of that and, in an interview for our website, he stressed that volleyball should be in the focus only when the world wins the battle against the new COVID-19.

What’s your opinion about the decision to postpone the Olympic Games for 2021?

“I think it’s absolutely the right decision. I’m not to judge this, but I think we all know that this coronavirus will stay a while in the world without knowing exactly which countries will be affected and infected. I’m afraid that it will go to South America, to Africa… I hope it won’t be going there. There are so many teams participating in the Olympics, I only talk about volleyball, and when I see how things are developing, I think that normal preparation for the Olympic Games wasn’t possible. On the other hand, Japan is showing how to handle coronavirus. It’s a pity that other countries that showed how should be acted in times of crisis weren’t rewarded and have to pay the price. I feel sorry for Japan, but it’s a logical decision.”

Would you prefer to wait for and see when the situation with coronavirus will be resolved and play the Olympics sometime this year?

“It’s always nice to make things clear. In times of uncertainty, you have to make things certain. If you put the Olympics in October, everybody would again start to doubt that it’s possible. I think this decision made everything clear, there will be Olympics, they will be in July and August next year, and everybody can participate.”

You had a misunderstanding with the Polish federation and the League when you requested the shortening of the championship because of the Olympics. In the meantime, did you manage to bring back the relationship with them into the normal?

“It wasn’t a misunderstanding, I wanted the league to be shortened and that’s all. If I want that and the league doesn’t like that, it isn’t a misunderstanding. We understand each other very well, we only have different opinions (laughing). It was very clear, I had a discussion with the league and the league is totally different from the federation. I have a feeling that, in the last year and a half, I had a great relationship with the federation. We had many discussions about how to do things better. What’s important for the federation is the matter of marketing. I like the sports side, not marketing. Basically, me and federation, we always worked together. This time it was PlusLiga who had a different opinion.”

How are you coping with this whole coronavirus situation?

“Walking, walking… and talking by phone. I’ve just watched a volleyball match. I didn’t watch a volleyball match in nearly two weeks. I watch a lot of movies. I never watched movies but now I’m watching a lot, classical ones to make myself a bit more a man of the world. I think that we all have to realize that the excellent thing about having free time is to start doing things that, maybe, we could have never done if we haven’t had free time, and to start liking them. A lot of studies say that people should have the chance to sit home and just do nothing, which will stimulate their creativity.”

Do you expect that the Italian league and European cups will resume this season?

“I think that a chance to restart them is low. But, if it could be done, it would be amazing. Italy is suffering really, really hard now, but can you imagine that the situation is under control? I’m not talking only about volleyball. But, can you imagine playing volleyball in June or so after having the entire situation under control in Italy, and give people this feeling of sports and excitement back after so many months of not having it? I think it would be a huge boost to play, it would be amazing. I clearly underline that those things can happen if the country is ready for it. It’s not about us, players, it’s about the country. I think sports can give a country some fun and excitement and, after these months of hard times and not being able to go out, it would be great to see people out, celebrating and supporting their team. I think well enjoy much more in this in the future than we ever had enjoyed before.”

Check out more interviews.


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