Aleksandar Gigović

Aleksandar Gigović

Aleksandar Gigović (Serbian Cyrillic: Александар Гиговић; born April 20, 1983, in Kragujevac, Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia - died on July 28, 2007, Ivanjica, Serbia) was a Serbian volleyball player who spent his entire career at OK Radnički Kragujevac - Kombank.

Gigović started playing volleyball at the age of 11. He was then playing as a setter, but later decided to play as a receiver, as he developped into a truly great player. It is only in 2002 that his talent is acknowledged, and this by Dejan Brdović, former volleyball player and Yugoslavia national team captain, winner of the bronze medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Shortly after, Gigović joins Radnički Kragujevac, then playing in the Serbian Third League. Gigović, almost by himself, lifts the team to eventually reach the Serbian top-flight division, the Wiener Städtische Liga. The 2006/07 season league table shows his club at the very top of the standings prior to the playoffs. It is with great enthusiasm and confidence that the team enters the playoffs with Gigović at their helm. Unfortunately, the young star injures himself in the first game of the playoffs. From the stands, he sees his team lose to Ribnica Građevinar from Kraljevo in the semifinals.

Igor Kolaković, national team coach, received heavy critics for not selecting the prospect on the senior national team to play at the FIVB World League 2007. Without him, the team achieves a very deceiving 9th place. Due to his amazing performance in the past season, Gigović receives a call to play for the national team at the 2007 Summer Universiade in Bangkok, Thailand. The team begins preparations for the tournament in the city of Ivanjica, Serbia. Only a few days later, on July 28, 2007, Gigović's sudden death shocks the entire country of Serbia as well as the volleyball and sport world. [cite web

url=http://www.b92.net/sport/odbojka/vesti.php?yyyy=2007&mm=07&dd=28&nav_id=257207
title=Preminuo Aleksandar Gigović
work=B92.net
accessdate=2007-07-28

] It is reported that he died in his sleep during a short break.

On July 30, 2007, Alexander, Crown Prince of Yugoslavia, claimant to the throne of Serbia, extended his condolences to the Gigović family. [cite web

url=http://www.royalfamily.org/statements/state-det/state-1690.htm
title=CROWN PRINCE EXTENDS CONDOLENCES TO GIGOVIC FAMILY
work=RoyalFamily.org
accessdate=2007-07-30

] In his letter to the president of the Volleyball Association of Serbia, the Crown Prince emphasized: “"It was with great sadness that my family and I received news of the death of Aleksandar Gigović, member of our University National Team. This is a great loss for volleyball and a tragic loss of a young life. My family and I extend our deepest condolences to the family of this young sportsman. Destiny did not give him the opportrunity to enjoy with all of us the winning of yet another gold medal for Serbia, which has become the new Balkan champion thanks to his colleagues, the youth volleyball players. In life, the sad news and the good news can happen at the same time, and so my family and I extend our congratulations to the youth volleyball players and wish them much more success in the future"”.

On the same day, Gigović's funeral took place in Kragujevac as well as the burial at Bozman cemetery, which were attended by both the men's national team and the women's national team. Other high delegates were present, such as the Volleyball Association of Serbia Secretary General Mr. Slobodan Milošević and Radnički Kombank president, Miroslav Stojanović.

Shortly after his tragic death, the Radnički Kombank organization decided to organize an annual memorial tournament in honour of the club's greatest player of all-time. The first edition of Memorijalni Turnir Aleksandar Gigović was played over a period of two days starting on September 28, 2007 and ending on September 29, 2007. The participating teams were Rabotnički Feršped from Skopje, Republic of Macedonia, Budućnost Podgorička Banka from Podgorica, Montenegro and Vojvodina Navolin from Novi Sad, Serbia, along with the hosts. Club president, Miroslav Stojanović, has stated that this tournament only goes to show the city will never forget the talented receiver. The tournament is now on the Volleyball Association of Serbia's official calendar and will be played every year at The Lake Arena (Hala Jezero) during the last weekend of September, shortly before the start of the regular season.

On December 26, 2007, Gigović was posthumously awarded Radnički's Sports Association award for the association's best volleyball player. His father, Nebojša Gigović, accepted the award in tears. Gigović leaves behind his family, friends and team but also his great ambitions of one day wearing the Serbian jersey and becoming one of the best volleyball players the world has ever seen.

His team can no longer count on his presence in the dressing room or on the bench, they can no longer count on his ball-receiving, amazing serves or blocks, but one thing is sure, during timeouts or between sets, they will have the opportunity to cry out a cheer for him, get out on the court and win. This is exactly what they have done by becoming Serbian Cup Winners in 2007-08 and reaching the Wiener Städtische Liga playoff final the same year which they lost to OK Crvena Zvezda. Nonetheless, the team qualified for next year's edition of the CEV Cup.

References

External links

* [http://www.wienerliga.org/index.php?mod=tim&id=8 Radnički Kombank at Wiener Städtische Liga]
* [http://ossrb.org/main/index.php?Itemid=2&id=435&option=com_content&task=view Gigović funneral at Volleyball Federation of Serbia website]


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