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FIVB BEACH VOLLEYBALL NEWS

Referee course ignited Gallay beach volleyball involvement

 

Lausanne, Switzerland, June 10, 2014 - As Ana Gallay sits atop the FIVB’s season standings for beach volleyball with Georgina Klug, the Argentine Olympian initially thought she would be standing on a platform officiating the sport when she was first introduced to the activity at a national referee clinics in 2006.

“I started playing beach volleyball recreationally in 2007,” said the 28-year old Gallay. “I was first introduced to the sport when I attended a referee course since I was a physical education teacher at the time.  After refereeing a few games, I fell in love with it.”

Gallay’s initial foray into competitive beach volleyball was in 2011.  “After playing for pleasure and as a hobby because I was teaching full-time, ENARD (Ente Nacional de Alto Rendimiento Deportivo) was founded and I received a scholarship and money to help pay for the trips to the different beach volleyball tours.  Finally, I chose to start to play it professionally.”

With the help, Gallay earned a spot in the London 2012 Olympics where she and Virginia Zonta became the first Argentine women’s team to qualify for the beach volleyball competition at the Summer Games.  Despite not winning a match against pairs from the United States, Spain and The Netherlands, Gallay and Zonta left London on a high.

“Not everyone gets to experience being part of an Olympic Games,” Gallay said. “You don’t get to experience that kind of thing every day. With us paving the way, Argentina started staging women’s beach volleyball tournaments for the first time as previous events had been male-only competitions. Perhaps us two going to the last Olympics has helped pave the way.”

On the strength of Gallay and Klug’s participation in eight South American Tour events, the Argentineans lead the FIVB season rankings with participation in eight continental tournaments and three FIVB World Tour stops so far in 2014.  Gallay and Klug have posted seven podium placements in South American tournaments with three gold medals and six appearances in finals.

With their best showings together on the FIVB World Tour to date, Gallay and Klug have claimed a pair of fifths in Open events with a ninth in the Shanghai Grand Slam where the Argentineans captured their pool. Overall, Gallay and Klug have won 11 of 16 FIVB matches this season with losses to pairs from Brazil (twice), China, Spain and the United States.

“The FIVB season has started really well for us,” said the 29-year old Klug.  “We didn't expect the results we have had with the fifths in Fuzhou (China) and Mexico (Puerto Vallarta), and the ninth in Shanghai - our best result in a Grand Slam so far.”

Klug cites “teamwork as the strength” of her partnership with Gallay. “We play as a team, fighting for every point and working hard to win every match,” Klug added. “We love playing together because we have the same fighting spirit and the same overall goals.  It's great to play with Ana, I think she was born for this sport, she is talented and we have a great chemistry on the court.”

After placing third in their last South American tour stop in Columbia, Gallay and Klug took time to answer questions before resuming FIVB World Tour play in Europe at the Grand Slam stop in Moscow from June 11 to 15.

Question: What is your pre-season training regime like?  Where, when and with which teams do you train?  Do you have a coach?

Gallay: “We stayed at home for our pre-season training in Mar del Plata. We train with the other players on our national team throughout the year. Pablo del Coto is our coach but he cannot always travel with us. His is an excellent trainer as he has experience as both a player and coach. Pablo is the coach of the Argentine women’s beach volleyball team.”

Question: What are your goals for 2014?  How has your season started?

Gallay: “We would like to get classification in all Grand Slams and to place among the best 24 teams.  We have started the season with very positive outcomes. On the South American Tour, we are in second place behind a Brazilian team. As for the FIVB World Tour, we have placed fifth in two Opens and ninth in the Shanghai Grand Slam.  All great results for us.”

Klug: “In 2014, our goals are to qualify for the Pan-American Cup, win stops on the continental tour and go step-by-step on the FIVB World Tour to improve as a team every game, every tournament.”

Question: What are your individual strengths and what do you need to improve?

Gallay:  “My strengths are the winning attitude, the physical aptitudes and ball control.  On the other hand, what I need to improve is my block since I am not a tall player.  Apart from that, I have to adjust and train my pass (reception) and serve.”

Klug: “I feel more confident with my reception and defense.  I really love defense.  I think I need to improve on my attack to play at the FIVB level.”

Question: What are your team's strengths and what areas of your team's game needs improvement?

Gallay:
“The team’s strengths are our optimism and positive attitude. We are always eager to win.  Referring to the areas that our team needs to be improved, I think that we have to work more in technical and tactical aspects.  However, I believe that all these international competitions have been of great help to learn more and become little by little better in the games.”

Klug: “There are a lot of areas that we need to improve on since we are a new team. We need the experience in these kind of games to have more side out options.”

Question:  What was the process in forming your team? What are your thoughts on playing with your partner?

Gallay - “I started with Georgina in June 2013. We have also played together twice on the South American Tour and placed second and first in the tournaments. After that, we participated in seven phases of the FIVB World Tour. We qualified for all of them obtaining 17th place in a Grand Slam and fifth in an Open. To be honest, I am proud to be playing with Geo. She is an optimistic person who is always positive towards every situation and never loses her hunger for winning. What is more, I believe that she is an excellent receiver and the best digger.”

Question: What do you believe are your chances at the Olympics?

Gallay:
“I had the chance to go to the London 2012 Olympics Games after qualifying via the Continental Cup. We believe that there are many possibilities for us also to be in Rio 2016 if we manage to get among the best 15 teams of the world. We know that the level is high and that it won’t be easy. We will work very hard to achieve it.”

Klug: “The Argentine women qualified for the first time in the Olympics at the London 2012 Summer Games. We are training for that goal in Rio. It's possible to reach our goal through the South American Tour and Continental Cup, but our dream is to get there via the FIVB World Tour ranking.”

Question: When, where, why and how did you become a beach volleyball player?

Gallay:
“I started playing beach volleyball in 2007 at Nogoya, Entre Rios. I first met this sport when I went to attend a referee course in 2006 since I am a physical education teacher and an ex-volleyball player. After refereeing a few games, I fell in love with it.  At first and up to more or less 2011, I played for pleasure and as a hobby because at that time I was also working as a teacher. In that same year the ENARD (Ente Nacional de Alto Rendimiento Deportivo) was founded, which granted us a scholarship and also helped us to pay for trips to the different beach volleyball tours. Finally, I chose to start to play professionally.”

Klug: “I played professional volleyball for almost 10 years. I started beach volleyball training one day for fun and I loved it!  The coach asked me to play the last stop of the Continental Cup to help Argentina gain a spot in the London 2012 Olympic Games, and I started with that tournament. We won and Argentina had a women’s team in the Olympics for beach volleyball for the first time in history.  After that, I kept playing indoors while training on the beach at the same time. From day one, I fell in love with this sport, and then last year I decided to dedicate myself only to beach volleyball until the Olympics.”

Question: When not practicing and playing, what do you do with your time?

Gallay: “In my free time I enjoy watching a film, going out with my husband, listening to music or visiting my family and friends.  But the truth is that we don’t have too much free time.”

Klug: “I like to be with my husband enjoying simple things like drinking maté (typical Argentinian drink), going out together and hanging with friends. When I have free days, I like to visit my family in Santa Fe, and spend time with my nephews and niece.”

{Note: Gallay married Eduardo Traverso on December 28, 2013.  A National Physical Education Teacher, Gallay graduated in Gualeguay, Entre Rios from UADER (Universidad Autónoma de Entre Rios) with a degree in Life and Health Sciences. Klug, who was on the Argentine women's national team for six years and was captain for two seasons, is married to Ignacio Forastiero, who retired last year as a professional volleyball player.  She finished her university studies at UCES in Buenos Aires.}

Question: What has been your greatest experience and/or accomplishment in beach volleyball?

Gallay: “My greatest experience in beach volleyball has been going to the London 2012 Olympic Games and to be able to participate on the FIVB World Tour as I am doing now.  Both are dreams which I have always wished to achieve in this sport.”

Klug: “My greatest experience was in Shanghai this year when we finished first in our pool and reached ninth position in a Grand Slam for the first time.”

Question: Have you had any disappointments?

Gallay: “I haven’t had any disappointments. But of course there are always different problems to be tackled but generally they can be solved quickly.”

Klug: “We haven’t had any big disappointments. I think we are growing like a team and working hard to be better.”

Question:  How do you rank on your domestic tour?  Have you ever earned a podium berth in your country's national championship for beach volleyball?

Gallay: “We are not participating on the national tour because we are playing on the South American and FIVB Tours. However, some years ago I played on the domestic tour and I had a lot of success.”

Klug: “I have never played on the national Beach Volleyball tour.”

Question: How do you rank on the South American tour? Have you had any podium placements together on the confederation tour?

Gallay: “Up to now in 2014, we have competed seven times on the South American Tour. We won three times, placed second three times and finished fourth once.”

Klug: “Right now, Brazil ranks as the top country on the South American women’s tour, but we are the No. 1 team. Brazil sends different teams to each event while we have represented Argentina in every tournament.”

Question: Argentina is scheduled to host an FIVB World Tour event in October.  How excited are you about Argentina hosting a world tour stop for the second-straight season?

Gallay: “I am very proud that Argentina has decided to bring here the best beach volleyball world competition.  It is extremely important for us because it means that this sport is growing in significance everyday in the country.”

Klug: “We are really excited, it´ll be our first time playing the World Tour at home as a team.  I think it will be a great experience for us, and a good opportunity to share our passion with friends and family and to show our country our hard work. I think it will also be good for our country (federation and government) to show how hard they are working to make beach volleyball, and sports in general, grow.”

Question: Is there a history of playing beach volleyball and/or volleyball in the family?

Gallay: “In my family, no one played any sport.  As I said before, I was introduced to beach volleyball after attending a referee course. Still, my family supports me and they are very proud of what I am doing.”

Klug: “My whole family used to play volleyball.  Actually, I learned how to play in my weekend house when I was a kid.”

Question - If you are not playing beach volleyball, what do you do with your spare time?  Do have professional career or occupation?

Gallay: “I am a Physical Education teacher, but I am not working now as I’m concentrating on my beach volleyball career.”

Klug: “I finished university in 2007. I studied to be a physiotherapist. I worked only a couple of months and after that went to play volleyball in Europe.”

Question: Do you have any nicknames?  Who are your beach volleyball heroes?

Gallay: “In the beach volleyball environment, I am known as “Gallo” but in my family I’m just Ana.  My beach volleyball hero is Juliana (Felisberta of Brazil). I have watched her playing in many videos. As I am a 1.73cm blocker, I would like to play as she does.”

Klug: “Everybody from Argentina calls me Geo. However, over the last couple of years my crazy favourite American teammate started calling me "G", so some teammates from other countries call me that too.  I love it!  I like how Laura Ludwig plays and Kerri Walsh is very inspirational especially how she is on and off the court, and how she can balance enjoying sports and family life at the same time.”



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