Turkish volleyball player Irem Cor's career in Italy was cut short due to new coronavirus or COVID-19 crisis in the country.
She was only able to play three games with the Italian volleyball team Lardini Filottrano after she left Turkish club Besiktas at the end of January.
The Italian volleyball league has been postponed like other sports events in the world amid coronavirus fears.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency on Monday, Cor said that she returned from Italy 20 days ago and did not have any problems.
"Italy was put under lockdown before I left. Then, I said to my agency that I want to return to Turkey. When the first case came out, it was not taken very seriously in Italy. We had a 10-day break at first. But the death toll increased very rapidly. It was my dream to play in Italy but was a short experience for me,'' she said.
The 24-year old player stressed that her place of stay was far from Northern Italy, where the first coronavirus cases were detected.
"When the cases were detected in Italy's north, I was there playing the game. The match was canceled that day and schools were closed. During this time, people did not stay at home. Authorities warned people through televisions, but they were not useful. Italians enjoy to have fun and go outside too much," Cor said.
She said that initially, authorities thought they can stop it by declaring the lockdown in Italy's north. But the number of coronavirus cases did not drop. “This decision did not work as well. Because the night before, the decision leaked to the public and everyone attempted to go elsewhere,” she added.
- League not canceled
Cor said that she still has a contract with the club but doesn't think the games will resume.
Reminding that Italy has been one of the most affected countries by the virus in the world, she stated that the league was not canceled yet but it is difficult to remain part of the rest of the league.
"When I joined the team, we were at the 10th place out of 14 teams. I have played three games after missing the first three matches. The league was postponed when we had to play key matches. There was no cancellation decision yet regarding the league matches. My contract continues, but I do not think the matches can be played," she said.
Cor wants to play again in Italy if there is an opportunity in the future.
''If an opportunity comes up, I would like to play in Italy for one more season. If I receive an offer from Turkey, I can stay here. I am currently following the process regarding the situation of the coronavirus.''
Since appearing in Wuhan, China, last December, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 183 countries and regions.
Data compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University shows worldwide infections topped 1.28 million, with over 70,000 deaths.
Italy on Sunday reported 525 more deaths from the novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of fatalities to 15,887.
*Writing by Muhammed Enes Calli