Get to know our athletes – Mirzet DURAN (BIH)

Over the forthcoming weeks, PVE will be giving the spotlight to the key figures on the court: the players themselves.

Each paravolley athlete boasts a unique story to share. Through a series of interviews, we will have the opportunity to gain deeper insight into the experiences of some of Europe’s most distinguished paravolley athletes, as they guide us through their personal journey in the sport, expressing their passion for the game along the way.

After talking to Thibault Lefrancois from France and Francesca Bosio from Italy, we continue “our journey”, moving to the Balkans, and more precisely – Bosnia and Herzegovina, a country famous for its many successes in sitting volleyball, the last being the 2023 #EuroSittingVolley winners. One of the stars of the team, Mirzet Duran, takes the floor and shares his story with us.  

What was your first experience of sports, and sitting volleyball in particular? 

I started playing sports in elementary school like most of the other children. Even then, volleyball was my favourite sport. Sitting volleyball is a sport that I didn’t know existed at all until I met people from my current club, and, as they say, the rest is history. 

What made you decide to become a sitting volleyball athlete? 

Like I said, I didn’t even know sitting volleyball existed, but it was love on first “touch” with the ball the moment I was on the floor. I knew that I will play for a long time… 

When did you begin playing in ParaVolley Europe competitions, and what do you remember from your first competition? 

I started playing volleyball in 2003, and already that year I travelled with the team to the Euroleague. I think it was Nyíregyháza, Hungary. I didn’t play so much that year, but it was an unforgettable experience. 

What is your personal experience of sports as a professional para-athlete, and what does it mean to you? 

Sport has helped people with disabilities a lot to overcome the psychophysical obstacles they have received in our war-torn country. I was wounded as a six-year-old, and sport helped me a lot to overcome those “obstacles” that I certainly could not overcome without having some obligation in life. When I talk to colleagues from the club or national team, who are now built personalities in all spheres of life and society, almost everyone says that the sport “lifted” them up and that it gave them the strength to move on. Now it’s something I couldn’t imagine my life without, and I will try to stay healthy and keep playing for as long as possible. 

What would you say is your biggest achievement?  

When I started playing sitting volleyball, I didn’t think much of how far it could go. I’ve learned the advantages of playing sports in general. Despite all the sporting successes, which are really not small because I have won everything that an athlete ever wants to win, both at the club and national level, the greatest success, in my opinion, are the people, the friends that I have made all over the world, and that is what is immeasurable. 

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