Three days of intense competition, joy and disappointment, but also moments of fun and teamwork spirit characterized and made special our staying in Athens for the ACG International Sports Festival 2019.
Our Gladiators lived some incredible moments, but this tournament was also a way for us to reflect on what can be improved in terms of college sports. The level of the tournament was high but not impossible, and we come back home with some gratifications but also a few regrets.
Two teams and three individual athletes represented our university in Athens: Men’s Soccer, Women’s Volleyball, Women’s Tennis, Women’s Swimming, and Men’s Ping Pong.
We honestly expected a bit more from our Men’s Soccer team who classified
The first game on Thursday afternoon was against ACG who defeated JCU 4-2. Our Gladiators tried to give their best and were able to score twice thanks to our forward Castellani and central defender Donnini, but a few more mistakes from our side allowed the opponents to win the game.
Second game on Friday morning was against QAT. Our Gladiators immeditaly took the lead thanks to the goal of our forward Mohamed Haddad, but a few distractions and the expulsion of our defender Donnini made it easier for QAT to win. JCU was still able to score a second goal on a free kick thanks to our captain Ortega. Our Gladiators could have won this game without any problem, but , unfortunately, they had to stop at the first round.
JCU won then the last game against the Agricultural University of Athens (AUA). AUA decided not to play and unfairly
Our Women’s Volleyball team tried to give their best on the field, but we knew it was not easy for them to win since our JCU volleyball team is a coed team, and our ladies never really had the chance to practice together by themselves.
Plus, JCU was not really lucky in the draw because it ended up in the strongest pool with the two teams who the played the Finals, the National & Kapodistrian University of Athens (UOA) and the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA).
The two team were really strong, and JCU lost 2-0 both games, but our ladies still played a good volleyball.
On Saturday morning, JCU played the final game against Panteion University (PU) and conquered a beautiful 2-0 win, which also classified them in 5th place in the tournament ranking.
A dose of satisfaction came from the Women’s Tennis tournament and our athlete Federica Cubello who played some high-quality matches.
Federica was able to play for six uninterrupted hours on the same day, winning 4 out of 5 matches and advancing to the quarterfinals. However, the following day, due to tiredness and less focus, our Gladiator was not able to replicate the success of the previous day and lost against a very valid opponent.
Federica is a really excellent athlete, and she could have advanced to the Finals. We want to congratulate with her and the efforts she put during all the matches.
Our biggest satisfaction came from the swimming pool and our athlete Flavia Antonelli.
Flavia is a former swimmer who has been training really hard during this past month to come as prepared as possible to the tournament, and the results were right.
Flavia won bronze medal in the 100m freestyle, beating really good athletes. She also had good results in the 50m freestyle, 50m backstroke, and 100m backstroke, closing these last two games in 4th position, and the 50m freestyle in 6th position.
Congrats, Flavia! We are proud of you!
MEN’S PING PONG
Last but not least, our Men’s Ping Pong representative Ruben Popper didn’t have an easy tournament. Ruben is a good ping pong player. He gave proof of his skills by winning our JCU intramural ping pong tournament in February. However, he found himself to compete against professional ping pong players in Athens.
Ruben was still able to win 1 out of 3 matches, but it wasn’t enough to advance in the competition. So good job anyway, Ruben!
Overall, it was a good experience for our Gladiators who went abroad to compete in an international tournament for the first time. You gave your best, and we hope that you will treasure everything you have learned during these days, from teamwork spirit to what it means to be an athlete.
We all have to work harder if we want to get better results, but with commitment and passion, we can break any barriers, and we are sure that next year, we will be able to show what we are really capable of.
Thanks to all of you, Gladiators and thank you to all the JCU community and administration for the support.