Costa Rica's Valeria Valenciano (blocking) and her partner Angie Montero are in Umag to soak in beach volleyball
Umag, Croatia, June 20, 2013 – Costa Rican Valeria Valenciano and Angie Montero came to Umag to watch, learn and experience. The Central American girls are soaking in beach volleyball at the FIVB U21 World Championships.
For 16-year-old Montero this is her first international experience. Valenciano (19) competed at the World Championships in Halifax last year with Francine Morales, finishing 17th.
Valenciano and Montero were overpowered by Bakhtygul Samalikova and Lyubov Bogatu from Kazakhstan in their first match (21-9 21-9) on Thursday, but had a good excuse.
“We did not arrive until one o’clock this morning and we had to get up real early again because we needed to check the schedule”, Valenciano explained.
The team left Costa Rica on Tuesday, travelling to Bogota in Colombia. From there they took a flight to Frankfurt, connected to Munich and got stuck at the airport because the flight to Trieste was overbooked.
“So we did not have a chance yet to get used to the sand, in Costa Rica most beaches are not so deep, and we did not get much sleep. But anyway, Kazakhstan is a really good team and they played really well”, Valenciano said.
Both girls are from the inland city of Heredia and switched from indoors to beach volleyball a few years ago. In the Costa Rican summer, from December to March, they play on the national beach tour.
Valenciano: “There are not a lot of junior girls teams, so we played this year with the senior teams and finished 10th out of 26 teams. We also play on the NORCECA tour and we have done well, but against the really good teams we did not do so well.”
World Tour dream
Valenciano and Montero won the play-off the national federation organized to decide who would go to Umag. “We are here to experience and to get used to playing to good teams and we also learn a lot from watching the other teams. Because our goal is to play one day on the World Tour. For now it is difficult because we do not have points or money, but this is our dream.”