At age 30, Jasmin Brkic is the youngest player in the highly experienced Bosnia and Herzegovina side that won bronze at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Bosnia and Herzegovina recorded a 3-1 victory against Brazil in the men’s bronze medal match at Makuhari Messe Hall.
In his first Paralympic Games, Brkic who plays libero for Bosnia and Herzegovina, got to experience being hitter on the final day of competition and winning a bronze afterwards.
“I’m speechless. It’s my first medal at the Paralympics,” said an ecstatic Brkic.
“It’s the crown of my career. Now I can see the hard work and all these days paid off to get this medal. So it’s crazy, to be honest.”
The Bosnians lost in the first set to the Brazilians, but that setback did not stop them from their goal to bring home a medal.
“We were so confident that we are going to get the bronze medal because we already failed to get the gold and silver, so we were 100 per cent sure that we are going to win this. We studied the games of Brazil and we saw that they always win the first set,” Brkic explained.
“We had a lot of confidence that we have great blockers, great spikers, and we just needed to wait for them to make mistakes. Then we can see where they made mistakes over and over, so we can use that.”
Most of the players in the Bosnian team are playing in their sixth Paralympics, but the younger Brkic saw that as their advantage.
“Our strength was in our minds and our experience,” he said.
“If you have experience, then you’re mentally stable to play high level games. If you’re not. then you’re going to break at one point.
“Usually when we block the spikers three times they are finished, mentally, so we can focus on another player. That’s what happened in this game. We stopped Brazil’s best player (Gilberto Lourenco da Silva). They didn’t show anything else to attack us, so we used that advantage and we attacked them.”
Bosnia and Herzegovina now have completed their Paralympic medal collection with the bronze medal, after claiming two gold and three silver medals.
Brkic shared how his team celebrates their victories.
“Usually we sit down and make a cup of coffee. It’s a quiet celebration. That’s been the ritual for the past five games,” he said with a smile.