Romania reigns the Europe third year in the rowPhoto: Robert Valai
European Youth Championships
For a third consecutive time Romania clinched the gold medal in the Junior Girls Teams Event at the European Youth Championships. Adina DIACONU, Adreea DRAGOMAN and Andreea CLAPA, under the guidance of coach Petre ARNAUTU, beat spirited team of Serbia on the way to the throne.
In the ultimate stage Romania showed no mercy. Girls overcame adversaries in straight matches, but after the very shaky start.
“The first match was very important. It was crucial who will win the duel of the captains of two teams. It was more then the point on stake. The win meant the great mental advantage to the team. The pressure was high and I thing that emotions overwhelmed Adina. LUPULESKU made 2:0 lead, before DIACONU really settle into the game. However, after that, Adina raised her game. She managed to recover to win,” explained coach Petre ARNAUTU.
Speaking about his players, ARNAUTU mentioned that Andreea CLAPA made great improvement in recent period.
“Without any doubt her quality is at the very high level, but her weak point was her mentality. We worked on it. The team that includes the specialist helped her build her confidence and made her stronger.”
DRAGOMAN also went step further.
“Andreea is the player who is capable to make big surprise. In combination with Adina she is even more lethal. Adina gives her great support and burst her confidence.”
Romania was no. one seed, but they suffered surprising defeat at the early stages, in Group phase. They lost against Belarus.
“Adina came here with lack of practice due the injury. She needed time to settle into tournament. Belarus came too soon and she suffered by the hands of Daria TRIGOLOS. That was the shock for whole team.”
It cost Romania their place at the top of the main draw in knock out phase and it meant they had to play against France already in the quarterfinal.
“With Europe’s no. two Audrey ZARIF and no. four Marie MIGOT, France was extremely dangerous. In that match our mentality prevailed.”
Petre ARNAUTU put Romania’s players on “scanner”:
“I think Adina could improve her movement and speed. Her mentality is already on the high level. On the other side, it is something that Andreea DRAGOMAN has to work on. She must build her confidence especially when it comes to close games. With CLAPA, we have to work more. She has to overcame her negative thoughts and to add some variations in service and return game.”
With the high aspirations the team will start their journey toward the medals in singles.
“We are ready, but the competition is fierce. In the knock out phase there is no place for mistake. We can not promise anything.”
Petre ARNAUTU noticed few good cadets.
“France and Russia came with the very good young team. Also I am very happy that we have also rough diamond for the future. Young Elena ZAHARIA is very good.”
At the end coach thanked his team.
“I am very proud of their achievement. They had dominated matters for a three years now, their skills and team spirit is to be admired.”