Email sends Mauritian pair on way to Rome 2011 dream
Elodie Li Yuk Lo and Natacha Rigobert are appearing at their first ever World Championship
Rome, Italy, June 13, 2011 – All it took was one email and with it two beach volleyball players from Mauritius started the journey that has culminated with them playing at their first ever World Championsips at the FIVB Swatch World Championships Rome 2011 powered by smart.
After graduating from University in Canada Elodie Li Yuk Lo returned to the Indian Ocean nation in the hope of finding a partner, but it wasn’t until an email from an unrecognised name appeared in her inbox that anyone suitable crossed her path.
“It began in 2008. Natacha (Rigobert) and I didn’t know each other, but after university I returned to Mauritius and wanted to find a partner, but couldn’t find one,” Li Yuk Lo said. "But then I randomly received an email in my inbox and it was from Natacha and said she wanted to play. So 10 days after the email I went to France to go visit her and a few weeks after that we played our first tournament together in Norway.”
The pair began their adventure at the Foro Italico with a 21-9, 21-14 loss to Spain’s Liliana Fernandez and Elsa Baquerizo.
They also face Brazilian second seeds Maria Antonelli and Talita Antunes as well as Anastasia Vasina and Anna Vozakova of Russia and hope that the experience of Rome 2011 will stand them in good stead for future tournaments.
“We have been training since 2008 and the World Championships was one of the events we were inspired to be at, along with the ultimate goal to be at the 2012 Olympics,” Li Yuk Lo said.
“We are doing all we can to get there and taking all those steps to reach that goal. It is such an amazing event to attend and be among the best of the best in our sport.
“It is very important to see the level at which the games will be played. It is always great to be among some great teams and some great players. We are just learning so much from everybody here just by watching and practising with them.”
Mauritius, with a population of 1.2million is more renowned for its beaches, than its beach volleyball players, but Li Yuk Lo and Rigobert hope that their appearance at Rome 2011, and hopefully London 2012, will inspire a new generation to start playing on the country’s golden sands.
“That is our goal and a dream of mine for as long as I can remember,” Li Yuk Lo said.
“So we’re trying to qualify through the continentals, the African continentals. We did well in our first sub-zone phase and are just waiting for the next phase.
“I think it is great exposure for Mauritius to put this sport on the map. One of our goals is to promote the sport in our own country and we are hoping that this will be the start of that.”
Click here to see Li Yuk Lo speak about life as a beach volleyball player from Mauritius: