Portobello water polo star Bojan Donevski will tomorrow be recognised as the sport’s Player of the Year, according to Scottish Swimming, at the club’s annual dinner in Edinburgh.
Donevski, a 23-year-old goalkeeper originally from Macedonia, arrived to study in the Capital via Belgium four years ago and qualified for the Scotland team on residency.
He was a key performer when Scotland took a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Championship in Aberdeen last April.
Says Bojan: “I feel very honoured to receive this award and it feels good to get some recognition.”
Bojan took up the sport ten years ago. “My mother knew the captain of a club in Belgium and suggested I join,” he said. “I wasn’t the strongest swimmer so I was put in goal and took to the position straight away. When I decided to have a year abroad, a colleague recommended Edinburgh both as a place to live and for the quality of the local water polo.
“I’ve enjoyed myself so much that, having graduated, I am starting a Masters degree in Biotechnology in January.”
Bojan, a former Belgian junior internationalist, helped Portobello win the British Championship two years ago and they are on course to repeat the feat.
Club head coach Alan Anderson says: “Bojan has grown in stature, confidence, strength and his goalkeeping skills since joining Portobello in 2010, where has been coached by ex-GB goalkeeper and Portobello assistant coach Ramon Valvona.
“His professional and dedicated approach to training gives the team confidence of a really strong foundation when we go into the game. His control of the goal area and direction of the defence have also improved and coupled with his shot stopping give the team a strong advantage when going on the counter-attack.
“Bojan really came to prominence in 2012 when he put on a stellar display of all-round goalkeeping to assist Portobello to beat Manchester 8-4 and win the British championship for the first time.
“At the Commonwealth Championships his performances culminated in a man-of-the-match display in the bronze medal play-off victory over South Africa and he was also named goalkeeper of the tournament.”
Meanwhile, Portobello will have much to celebrate tomorrow having qualified for the British Water Polo League Super 5 Championship for the fifth year in succession.
They are looking to improve on their previous best finish of third and win the title…and they have every chance.
The first round of matches left Portobello in third place with five points from two wins, a draw and a defeat, with the two sides above them, Lancaster and Cheltenham, on six points.
Portobello’s Antonello Padolecchia and Fraser Rutherford top the goalscoring charts so far and victories in the remaining four matches would secure the British Water Polo League title for the first time.