Korca, Albania
Albania: Friends that will never be forgotten
Date: 7/25/2016 2:20 PM
Published by : Emma Lollike
A training camp including a Memorial Tournament was conducted in Korca (ALB) from June 25-30. Participators consisted of four coaches and 27 players aged 10-17, from Greece, F.Y.R.O.Macedonia, Albania, and Serbia. 

Training sessions were demanding, but full of joy, and players were getting along despite having a language barrier. It awoke a great interest in new, younger players and PE teachers who came to watch the training sessions. And the great atmosphere on court influenced the whole venue and its spectators. 

The players were accommodated in the city centre, very close to the pedestrian area of Korca, and transportation was provided to and from the training hall. They had very nice surroundings with a swimming pool available for them to relax and play in, furthermore, one night a surprise dinner was arranged.

The instructor of the regional project was Corina Dan (ROU) and she was assisted by Mishel Pili (ALB), Anesti Treska (ALB), Ina Stefanovska (MKD), Iannis (GRE), and Marija Bulatovic (SRB). The training was divided into two sections of 90 min a day, and during the last two days they had arranged a tournament. 

Coach, Ina (MAC): "Korca 2009 was the moment where badminton connected me with friends for life. It wouldn’t be such an unforgettable experience if there weren't the great trainings, which were actually all fun & games. (…) I wish there are many more training camps in Korca to come!"

"It's my 5th time here in Korca (since 2008). And every time I return I'm impressed by the enthusiasm of the Albanian players, which let's say, don't have the same opportunities to train and play like the ones of other European countries. Still they are eager to train and to compete in the Ida's friend’s tournament. I was surprised to meet some players from the former training camps, which continued playing and attracted new people into the game of badminton” says instructor, Corina (ROU).

There were a lot of new players this year in Korca, and Corina have met a lot of the players before during the previous camps there. But sadly, Ida Pili, who has previously attended the camp, passed away one year ago. In her memory, an individual tournament was arranged called ‘Ida’s Friends’. 

“As much as I enjoyed coming here in Korca again, it was with a sad heart, because I missed one girl - Ida Pili - which unfortunately passed away exactly a year ago at the beginning of the camp. Perseverant and intelligent as a player and medicine student she had to face a tragic destiny with only 20 years of age. But her smile was watching all of us during the tournament from the banner posted in the hall”, Corina continues.

Fortunately, the camp in Albania will continue to bring joy to the attending players. Sofija (SRB) shares why she continues to return: "I was in Korca for the 1st time in 2011. Trainings here were good, sometimes easy and sometimes hard. Attending the camp gave me the opportunity to meet new players, which became my friends. It was fun and exciting in Korca, it’s a good memory and this is the reason why I wanted to come this year again."

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