March 17, 2012 09:31
Ivana Nešović, a Serbian volleyball player for Korean Expressway, stands 190 cm tall and has the face of a svelte East European model.
She is an athlete on the court, but when she is outside of the arena she becomes a totally different person, who admits she loves dressing up and wearing 10-inch stilettos to further accentuate her already Amazonian stature.
"I love the feeling of looking over from on high while wearing high heels," said Nešović. A few years ago, a Serbian media outlet conducted a survey on the 60 most beautiful female celebrities from the country, and Nešović came 30th. She also showed off her beautiful long legs in several photo shoots for catalogues.
But the leggy model becomes a monstrously fierce competitor on the court, while her powerful serves and attacks paralyze the opponent's defense. Nešović's serves are so accurate, sharp and powerful that it puts many of male volleyball players to shame.
As such, acquiring Nešović in January has proven a savvy move for Korean Expressway, which has climbed two or three slots to second place in the league in just a few months of her joining the team.
Nešović initially dreamed of becoming a tennis star. When she was growing up in Serbia, ravaged by ethnic conflicts and civil wars, sport was one of very few ways that young people could achieve success.
But she quickly began to lose interest in tennis, and individual sports in general, and switched to volleyball at the age of nine to take advantage of her precocious height -- already 160 cm -- and enjoy the teamwork it fostered.
Four years after being selected to the national team in 2006, Nešović joined the Italian professional league, which is considered the world’s best for women's volleyball. But she found herself regularly warming the bench and was eventually relegated to the second-tier league.
When the opportunity to play in Korea arrived in January, she jumped at the chance. Having seen Moreno Pino Kenny play in the country before embarking on a very successful career in Italy, Nešović decided to try her luck here, too.
"All I knew about Korea [at the time] was that it is a divided country," she said.
It has been only two months since Nešović arrived here, but she has already started to develop an interest in Korean cuisine. She named ddeokguk, or rice cake soup, and seolleongtang, or ox bone soup, as her favorite local dishes.
She has gelled well with her teammates as she has neither demanded nor expected any special treatment as a foreign player. She even reportedly volunteered to pick up errant balls during training, a task usually reserved for the youngest players in the team, and did not ask for any special menu or dietary considerations. After practice, she has actively been pressing her teammates on where she should go to further experience Korean culture.
Drawn by Nešović's beauty and grace on court, an increasing number of male fans are now coming to the Korean Expressway Zenith home stadium in Seongnam to watch her play.
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