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With Rizola, women’s volleyball learned to dream big

Dayana Segovia, player of the Colombian national team, finishing off the ball in a match against Argentina held in Bogotá. / EFE

jumps. hubbub Hands to the head. Hugs. Tears. Applause and glances to the sky to give thanks. The magic of a moment depends on many factors, but that night at the Luis Fernando Castellanos Coliseum in Barrancabermeja happened because history was made at home.

Can read: El Espectador launches its special on Colombian soccer: “What are we playing?”

Colombia had already reached the match against Brazil, for the South American last year, qualified for the World Cup in Poland and the Netherlands – which starts today and in which the national team debuts on Sunday against Japan – because it had defeated Argentina in the previous meeting and had managed to get into 19th place in the international ranking, which was enough to get the ticket to Europe. However, the commitment remained against the yellow-green team, one of the most powerful in this discipline in the world. It was necessary to confirm the classification and seal the competition at home with a flourish, in front of his fans.

A tight game, with a lot of tension. The heat of Barrancabermeja was much more with the fury of the stands. There were four sets and an adverse start, as Brazil won the first 19-25. From then on the points were hotly contested, but every little Colombia celebration served as fuel to fuel concentration and conviction. 25-23, 26-24 and 25-23. The first time that the national team defeated the neighboring country. There was created another chapter of achievements in the era of Antonio Rizzola.

“I come from Italian families in which the relationship of respect is very great. I want, think and believe that nothing in life is done if it is not in a team. I studied the Colombian women’s squad for more than 28 years because I played against them as the coach of Brazil. I always saw that it was not a team, they were people on the court, players. When I got here I proposed to them to be a team respected by others, it wasn’t just about physical and tactical concerns. In times of difficulty it is always possible to overcome everything as a team, only no one reaches anything,” said the Colombian coach for El Espectador.

And it is that with the help of Rizola, the national team has managed to stand out at the international level for four years. In 2018 he won the gold medal at the South American Games in Cochabamba; in 2019 he won the silver medal at the Pan American Games in Lima; in the South American of Barrancabermeja she was runner-up; this year she also obtained the runner-up position in the Women’s Volleyball Pan American Cup, which took place in Hermosillo, Mexico. Now, with their first participation in a World Cup, the Colombians hope to ratify the sense of belonging and identity that they imprinted on a group that sees itself as united, that dances before and after training sessions and matches, that is full of laughter and of a feeling of familiarity and solidarity between them.

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Valerin Carabalí (21 years old), Amanda Coneo (25), Camila Gómez (27), María Alejandra Marín (26), Margarita Martínez (27), Darlevis Mosquera (22), Madelaynne Montaño (39), Laura Pascua (19), Ana Karina Olaya (19), Melissa Rangel (27), Yeisy Soto (26), Dayana Segovia (26), Juliana Toro (27) and Angie Melissa Velásquez (22) are the 14 players that Rizola called up for the World Cup, in the who will be competing in group C against the teams of Japan (September 25), China (September 27), Brazil (September 28), Argentina (September 30) and the Czech Republic (October 1).

“Volleyball has evolved because of the work we have done. We started when we were 16 years old, now we are 26. We have gone step by step, but the fruits are visible. I assume my role with happiness and pride. Now we must set an example and it is an honor to do so, because we also went through the process of the smallest”, said Margarita Martínez, who was one of the figures of Colombia for the qualification to the World Cup.

“The important thing is what is already there. It has been a slow evolution. What interests us is to continue growing in a positive way. There is a lot of potential in Colombia and the idea is to exploit it here and then be able to leave. Volleyball is a very beautiful sport. It gives us many opportunities, we meet magnificent people. Hopefully Colombians support us. We work with pride and we want to leave the shirt as high as we can always”, assured Amanda Coneo, a reference for the national team.

We have already mentioned the saying “What is united remains”, and this group is an example of it, since they are not only players who have known each other for years, but have come together over time and have found a coach in Rizola that taught them something more important than movements, strategies and physical preparation: the importance of cultivating in the mentality the conviction to dream big.

Source: Elespectador

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