Plan de Corones / Kronplatz, Italy, April 5, 2019 – “Do you think you will continue playing snow volleyball after this?” “Yes, we would like to!” said the four athletes of the Argentinean national snow volleyball team all together with excitement. Julieta Puntin, Cecilia Peralta, Maria Eugenia Tuliz and Maria Virginia Zonta all come from beach volleyball, but quickly fell in love with the new winter version of their favourite sport, which they tried for the first time at the first two stops on the inaugural FIVB Snow Volleyball World Tour, organized with the CEV.
Argentina may be a country, which never won a medal at the Winter Olympic Games, but thanks to these four girls, it already has its bronze from the very first Snow Volleyball World Tour stop, sparking unlikely winter sport fever in the South American country.
“We definitely didn’t expect to win a medal at our very first tournament. After we won the medal, a lot of journalists from newspapers, TV and radio back in Argentina called us and wanted to find out more about our experience. So we are big stars now,” said Virginia Zonta, a 2012 Olympian, the most experienced beach volleyballer of the four, with a smile.
This unexpected tale of success unfolded quite quickly for the Argentinean athletes. “About a month ago each of us received a call from FeVA and we were invited to participate in this new sport. Of course, we accepted. We knew that snow volleyball existed, but we didn’t know much about it,” Julieta Puntin started the story. “We would like to thank the FIVB and the CEV, who invited us to participate here, as well as our federation for the trust. We are grateful for this one-in-a-thousand opportunity!”
Triumphant Argentines after the third place match at Wagrain-Kleinarl
“We all play beach volleyball on the national team, and the many similarities between the two sports are probably the reason why our federation chose us. We saw some videos before we came here in order to prepare. We know each other well, since we have played together in various combinations on the sand. But on the snow we have been discovering our positions and roles in the team on the go, even during the matches. If you saw our first training and you saw our last match, you would see two different teams. That’s how much we’ve learned along the way. It’s a new challenge for us, so we have a lot to improve as a team, but we have the motivation to do it,” Virginia and Julieta continued.
While tackling the new challenge, the four young players quickly fell in love with snow volleyball. “I think it is a very nice sport, kind of a mix between indoor and beach volleyball. It is more of a team sport than beach volleyball and involves quite a lot of teamwork,” Zonta commented.
“Yes, there is a lot of teamwork,” Puntin agreed. “In beach volleyball you have the wind and the sun, but in snow volleyball you also have the cold as an extra difficulty. And I like it!”
Argentinean attack against Russia
The Argentinean team are already in Italy, awaiting the start of main draw action at the second World Tour event, in Plan de Corones / Kronplatz.
“Our result at Wagrain-Kleinarl gives us more self-confidence, but at the second tournament we start from the beginning and we have to approach it step by step, without thinking of repeating our success just yet,” Puntin said.
“But just to be clear, we do want another medal!” added Zonta quickly.
The excitement rises even further for Julieta, Cecilia, Maria and Virginia as the third World Tour event will take place in their home country in early August.
“I think Bariloche is the perfect choice of venue for the next event on the Snow Volleyball World Tour,” Julieta Puntin pointed out. “It is a city and a well-known travel destination in Argentina. It is very beautiful and I encourage all these teams to come and play. Since snow volleyball is something new and exciting and, now that we have this result, I expect there will be a lot of spectators.”
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