Antonella Del Core gets emotional sendoff as Italy Rio 2016 adventure comes to an end


Antonella Del Core gets an emotional farewell by her Italian teammates after wrapping up a glittering career Sunday at the Maracanazinho.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 14, 2016 - From a runner in athletics, to two-time FIVB World Cup winner and three-time Olympian, to becomeing a mum, Antonella Del Core is coming full circle after the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

After 283 international matches with the Italian National Team, the 35-year-old Neapolitan today hung up her shoes (actually threw them to the crowd together with her kneepads) at the Maracanazinho, as Italy's Rio 2016 adventure came to an end with a straight set win over Puerto Rico that regardless saw them finish 9th in the overall rankings and bow out of the tournament.

"I feel it is the right time to go after taking part in the Olympic Games," she said as she passed through a mixed zone for the last time after the game with the Caribbean side.

She now plans to focus on other important issues in life.

"I want to be a mother, I want to have a family and this is the right moment to do it," said Del Core.

Born on 5 November 1980 in Naples, Del Core debuted with the National Team in 1999 and first played in the Olympics in Athens 2004. She missed the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games due to health issues, but came back to lead Italy at London 2012 and then captain the team here in Rio.

Antonella Del Core gets a memorable sendoff from her teammates...

...before throwing her shoes to the crowd...

...and turning emotional as her career comes to an end at the Maracanazinho

But her involvement with the sport was rather coincidental before blossoming into a gilttering career which saw her haul in two European Championship titles, two FIVB World Cups and an FIVB Grand Champions Cup amongst numerous silver and bronze medals.

"I started my volleyball career in Naples almost by accident," she explained after her last game. "I was a runner and my brother and my sister played volleyball. So they asked me 'why don't you join us in volleyball.' And that was it. It was the right choice."

At club level, playing at home in Italy, in Turkey and lately most successfully in Russia, she has won European Champions League titles with Perugia and Bergamo as well as Dinamo Kazan -also leading the latter to gold at the 2014 FIVB Club World Championship.

"I am happy about my career and had very good moments and others not so good. I can't really pick specific moments. I have so many good memories that it is impossible for me to choose one as the biggest thrill of my career," said Del Core summing up her career.

And in case you're wondering where the shoes ended up, they were caught by a Brazilian fan in the stands.

"I am very, very happy to have caught the shoes. At first, I thought she was aiming to throw the shoes further back to some Italian fans, but they just fell right in front of me, so I grabbed them," said Brazilian fan Snee Kerr.

"I did not know that this was her last competition but I know that she’s a very popular player. I want to tell her that I love volleyball and I like the Italian team," she said.

"I want to send a big kiss to the Italian team, and especially to [Del Core]. And to the team, just keep on fighting because I love your team."

Quick links - Volleyball:
Rio 2016 Olympic Games - Volleyball
Rio 2016 Olympic Games - Volleyball schedule
Rio 2016 Olympic Games - Volleyball - Teams - Men
Rio 2016 Olympic Games - Volleyball - Teams - Women
Rio 2016 Olympic Games - Volleyball - Media Guide
Rio 2016 Olympic Games - Volleyball history


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