Pasos eyeing future at top of the volleyball world
In the rarefied air of Medellin, Colombia a player is starting to emerge for whom the country has high hopes.
Veronica Pasos may only be 17, but she is already a regular for Medellin side Antioquia and has captained the Colombia national team. At 1.80m tall, the young hitter is a powerful presence on the court and capable of dominating opponents, but she has had to fight hard to overcome traumatic events at a young age when her father was murdered.
“When I was eight years old I lost my dad,” she said. “It hurt me deeply, and he was a great father. Little by little my mum helped me to overcome this awful event and to realise that he would like for me to keep playing, improving and moving forward.
“When playing volleyball, I would forget those sad thoughts and when I felt I couldn’t it do it anymore or that everything was awful, I would redirect my thoughts to my game and realise that I was very close to reaching my personal goals.”
With her mother living in Spain, Pasos was brought up by her grandmother and along with a pair of uncles they have ensured that she has stayed focused on her rise towards the top of world volleyball.
Her progress continued when she captained the Colombia team at the 2012 South American Youth Championship in Lima, Peru. Wearing the armband has meant that not only has she had to stay focused on her own performance, but also help out her teammates.
“I must control the pressure; many times the captain is not the best player on the court, but the player who can keep the harmony and unity among the team and can gauge the pressure of the game,” she said.
Pasos has been able to return to Medellin as Colombia were unable to qualify for the 2013 FIVB U18 World Championship in Thailand. She will continue to play and train with Antioquia, the club where it all began for her.
“Medellin is the land of volleyball,” Pasos added. “It was here where I began to play the sport with the high net: I began to play with a regular ball, just for fun, but someone saw my abilities and then I began to practice with the coach Samuel Sierra. In six months of practice, I was selected to play for the Antioquia team and the following year, I was selected to play for Colombia.”