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Harriet’s Italian volleyball experience

Harriet’s Italian volleyball experience

CSU Elite Athlete Harriet Gillson competing in Italy.
CSU Elite Athlete Harriet Gillson competing in Italy. Image: Harriet Gillson

Harriet Gilson studies a Bachelor of Clinical Practice (Paramedic) at CSU and is a member of the University’s Elite Athlete program under the Emerging Athletes category.

She recently spent two weeks touring Italy with the Australian Junior Women’s Volleyball team.

We caught up with Harriet so that she could tell us how she made it all the way to Italy!

Q: How did you make it to Italy?

A: I’ve played volleyball for four years and over this time I’ve slowly made my way up the ranks. I started playing competitive volleyball at the school level, then at the state level and onto the nationals.

I’m a part of the 1998 & 1999 age group volleyball team. The team comes together at the end of each year for training and selection for national team tours.

Being part of this group makes me eligible for selection for the Cornacchia World Cup in Pordenone in northeast Italy.

The Cornacchia World Cup sees teams from all over the world compete against each other over three days of intense competition.

Q: Where did Australia place in the tournament?

A: Moving into the tournament we were faced with a tough pool. We faced some strong competition in which we finished in 25th place overall.

After we finished playing we had a rest day and went to watch the men’s and women’s grand final and attended the closing ceremony.

With only a few days left we went and visited some Italian towns, watched a professional volleyball game and had our final training with each other.

Q: What was the most memorable moment on the trip?

A: The most memorable moment was the opening ceremony in which over 3 000 athletes marched through the narrow streets of Pordenone to be welcomed on stage by the official tournament directors.

Every team was cheering which brought a lot of attention from the locals who hung out their windows and clapped us on.

Q: Was the trip all work or did you get to play too?

A: We got our leisure time too! We got to visit the historical town of Treviso. We were guided around the beautiful Italian town by an Australian volleyball player who moved to Treviso.

Followed by this we went to the semi-final of the Series A women’s volleyball. Volleyball is one of the most popular sports in Italy, so the atmosphere at the game was one we’d never witnessed before. There were thousands of fans cheering, a band and even commentators.

On our final day, we caught the train from our hotel in Sacile to Venice. Upon arrival we got five hours free time to explore the city which meant we finally had a chance to take some pictures and buy gifts for friends and family back home.

Q: What did the training consist of?

A: A typical preparation day consisted of an 8:30am weights session, followed by two hours of training. We then headed back to our hotel for lunch and a short break before heading back to the gym for another two hour session or practice game against a local team.

The tour in Italy was an amazing experience and allowed me to be exposed to the European style of volleyball. It’s a big change up from the previous USA and Asian tours in which they play a much faster game!

Read more about the University’s Elite Athlete program here.

This is an SSAF funded initiative
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