Maja Ognjenović  Serbia Paris 2024 Volleyball

Ognjenović will play in her fifth Olympics with Serbia

Serbian women's volleyball national team captain Maja Ognjenović was chosen to represent her country's 112-athlete delegation during the Opening Ceremony of the Paris 2024 Olympics as she'll be one of the nation's flagbearers during the event, on July 26.

The 39-year-old setter, who will play in her fifth edition of the Games in Paris and won silver at Rio 2016 and bronze at Tokyo 2020, will share the honor with water polo player Dušan Mandić. The two will carry the country's flag during the Parade of Nations, which will be held at the Seine River.

Besides the two Olympic medals, the veteran also won two FIVB World Championship medals (gold in 2018, bronze in 2006), two European titles (2009, 2011), two FIVB World Grand Prix bronze medals (2011, 2013) and one FIVB World Cup silver medal (2015) in 20 years with the country's national team.

Ognjenović is the second volleyball player confirmed as a flagbearer for the Paris 2024 Games. Argentinean setter and national team captain Luciano De Cecco will play the same role for his country.

Serbia beat Italy in preparation match

Two of the main candidates to win gold in the women’s volleyball tournament of the Paris 2024 Olympics in a few weeks, Volleyball Nations League 2024 winners Italy and reigning world champions Serbia met in an exciting preparation match on Tuesday in Florence and the visitors counted on the bright of star opposite Tijana Bošković to prevail in the tie-breaker.

Tijana Boskovic Serbia Italy Women's Volleyball-min

Bošković spikes past the Italian block in Florence (Photo: FIPAV)

Playing her first international match of the season, Bošković produced 26 points in the Serbian 3-2 (21-25, 25-20, 22-25, 25-18, 15-9) victory, which saw them come back twice to prevail in the tie-breaker – the 27-year-old opposite tallied 22 kills, three blocks and one ace.

Besides her, outside hitter Aleksandra Uzelac, with 19 points (19 kills, one ace), and middle blocker Maja Aleksić, with 17 (nine kills, seven blocks), were other standouts in the Serbian victory.

Italy, who used their main lineup in the first four sets and had mostly reserves on the court in the tie-breaker, had their opposites leading the way, with Paola Egonu delivering 20 points (19 kills, one ace) and Ekaterina Antropova adding another 15 (13 kills, two blocks).

“I didn’t like the team’s attitude today,” Italian head coach Julio Velasco said. “For some reason, we weren’t attacking with confidence and we should have played much more aggressively. Perhaps winning the VNL was positive from one standpoint, but negative in some other ways. We missed the fight and the determination we showed there and hopefully this match will show we can’t give anything away to our opponents.”

Following the match in Italy, the Serbians will return home to Belgrade for a few days before heading to Poland, where they will play in the Agata Mróz-Olszewska Memorial Tournament from July 16-19, alongside the hosts, France and the Dominican Republic.