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Bitter tears for Conegliano: wins the Italian Championship and greets Paola Egonu

It’s just a goodbye...

By Giulia Mossuto

They say you only realize the importance of a person when you lose them. Fortunately, this is not at all the case of Paola Egonu, who, from her first, timid and lazy entrance to a gym, has already practically won everything. Why yes, let’s face it: you can always do better and continue to grow, as she reiterated to the cameras last May 10. But there is no doubt that the list of successes and victories of Paola, class 1998, would turn heads to anyone (to us compatriots, surely). These were real roaring years for the opposite of Italian volleyball, years of real panther, if you want to respect the famous nickname of the players of Imoco Conegliano, of which Egonu is part. Or rather, it was part of it.

 
 
 
 
 
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Un post condiviso da Paola Egonu (@paolaegonu)

On May 10, the final of the Italian A-1 championship was held, which saw the legendary Venetian team triumph against Vero Volley Monza, winning for the fourth time in a row the title. But Paola’s suitcases are already ready: jokingly signing in front of the cameras "It’s just a goodbye", she announced her next entry into the Turkish volleyball scene.

The Vakifbank of Istanbul is ready to welcome what, to date, is one of the strongest players in the world, which among other things, like any self-respecting star, has been waiting and not a little. In fact, the Serbian Fenerbahce had already tried it, a year ago, with an offer of one million and the same Turkish team, but Egonu refused, with great pride of all of us, especially of Conegliano. The union makes the strength and this is exactly the climate that has been breathed in the Veneto team, composed of as many participants in the national team, as Miriam Sylla - that, if we want to turn the knife in the wound, will also greet the Italian club for other foreign beaches.

 
 
 
 
 
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Un post condiviso da Paola Egonu (@paolaegonu)

Paola has enjoyed the deserved success (of 15 points, 8 are just hers) and has thrown back tears, because it reminded us that it is not over: May 22 will be held in fact the Champions League final, which, ironically, will see ours in Conegliano facing the Turkish opponents of Istanbul. In short, the last scratchy dunks and then, almost literally, pass under the net and join the future team.

The smile and the enthusiasm of living at 100 per hour, like his deadly dunks, are his best business card, for those who want to get an idea by scrolling through the photos in his Instagram profile, which to date has 255 thousand followers. It is a smile that, however, conceals great sacrifices and responsibility, and that has squealed with so many tears and so much sweat in these years, that, let us remember, would have been the years of a common teenager.

 
 
 
 
 
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Un post condiviso da Paola Egonu (@paolaegonu)

Paola, albeit with discretion and discretion, has never concealed the emotions and this can be a warning in remembering that behind that colorful ball lies someone like us, a true champion of normality. And this is the title that shines of equal importance, between record points, championships and countless MVP (Most Valuable Player).

Paola was born in Cittadella, in the province of Padua, but, as she has always remembered, her heart has always been beating proudly and faithfully for Italian and Nigerian soil. His father, Ambrose, a former truck driver in Lagos, and his mother, Eunice, a nurse in Benin City, moved to Italy, then gave birth to the future champion of volleyball. It was the father who convinced Paola to get up from the sofa, to make the simple movement, just like all her peers; however, the first approach to the world of sport did not seem to presage anything of the future. It was not really a love at first sight and his character was not even helpful: Paola has in fact stated several times that in the past she was very antisocial, almost grouchy at first glance.

 
 
 
 
 
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Un post condiviso da Paola Egonu (@paolaegonu)

The beginnings, you know, are always a little difficult for everyone. What matters is the road traveled after and Paola has done a lot. Has ground primates (just to name one, in the 2016-17 season, shortly after his debut in A-1, he scored 46 points, a record never reached in a single race; which among other things has again exceeded last 2021 reaching 47: when they say if they sing and if they play it alone...)victories and medals between Club and national teams (Italian Super Cup, Italian Cup, gold at the European Championship in 2021, silver at the World Club Championship 2018 in Japan and at the World Grand Prix, bronze at the European Championship 2019 etc...) and, certainly not useful, xenophobic prejudices and insults.

If with so much enthusiasm we acclaimed her mighty wall on the field, with as much speed we have built a stronger one, of hatred and ignorance; the episodes of racism unfortunately have not been missing in his life. But being followed to the supermarket by the cashier, who takes for granted a robbery or seeing the parents of the opponents make the sound of the monkey have however made Paola aware that it could have made a difference, and not only for herself, but for all those who still want to embed the concept of normality into obsolete and retrograde stereotypes: if his coming out had convinced us of his powerful tranquility in talking about something that should be normal for everyone, His election as flag bearer during the last Olympics in Tokyo was a icing on the cake.

 
 
 
 
 
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Un post condiviso da Paola Egonu (@paolaegonu)

Bitter in the mouth so there is not even a shadow left, on the contrary: as a caring mother and full of pride knows that the time has come to greet the little boy now grown, so Italy will greet his beloved star, fair of the avalanche of successes and prizes that sparkle in the case, as much his as all of us. As a real flying girl she is ready to spread her wings, sure that this new adventure will be a precious reservoir of experience and growth, and then, who knows, return to make the hearts of Italians beat.