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Costa Ricans looking up to best U23 players of the world in Myslowice

Costa Rica's Victor Alpizar (left) and Andres Flores
Myslowice, Poland, June 12, 2014 - Andres Felipe Flores Garita and Victor Alpizar Campos are by far one of the shortest and skinniest men’s teams at the FIVB Beach Volleyball U23 World Championships, but the two Costa Ricans make up for it in fighting spirit.

Czech opponents Ondrej Benes and Ondrej Perusic made defence player Flores run from left to right and back and forth, but he just kept on digging the balls. Eventually the Costa Rican team lost 2-0 (21-12, 21-19), but there was improvement compared to Wednesday, said Flores.

“Match by match we are getting better and better. We lost two matches yesterday, but in this last set against the Czechs we were very happy with our game.” The Costa Ricans even took the lead a couple of times (10-8 and 11-10) and warded off two match points.

Being short just means they have to be more creative, they discovered. “The players are so much taller here”, 20-year old Flores said. “In Costa Rica Victor is one of the tallest players in beach volleyball, but here there are even people defending who are taller than him. That’s very difficult.”

Despite losing three matches already, the Costa Ricans are having the time of their life. For Flores this is his second international event, after the U21 in Umag last year, but for Alpizar Myslowice is his first international experience.

“The level in this competition is much higher than we have in Central America”, said Flores. “But the tournament has been very interesting for us. We have lost, but we are still enjoying ourselves. We can practice with the best teams of the world and learn. So this is a very nice experience.”

They also learn from the way the event is organized, Flores said. “We don’t have anything like this in Costa Rica. We don’t have specific area’s to play beach volleyball. We just have some places with sand and we play there, nothing organized. We do have a national tour, but only seven tournaments and the level is not very high, not like her.”

Besides improving their game, both players have some other goals for the future. “I want to be able to jump higher”, said Flores. “Grow more muscles, get stronger physically so I can put more power in the ball. But for now I just hope we win the other matches and pass the group.”

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