FIVB Volleyball Girls' U18 World Championship

Press release

My dream is to play at the Olympics, the youngest player of U20 World Champs says

12-year-old, the youngest player of the tournament: Dominican Republic's Natalia Martinez will turn 13 in November.

Natalia Martinez is the youngest player at 2013 FIVB Women’s U20 World Championship Brno, Czech Republic. Born on November 25, 2000 she is just twelve years young. “I started playing volleyball three years ago in my home town in the Dominican Republic. One day, a soccer coach saw me during a training session, and he noticed my potential (Natalia is 186cm tall). He spoke with the volleyball coach of my school who eventually asked me to join the junior national team. I am always the youngest player of my team. Now I play in Santo Domingo. I don’t feel any pressure; I know I have to grow, every day I try to do my best to improve.”

Natalia is already very tall, but looking at her age, she might grow a lot more: “I think two meters would be enough, but I really don’t know exactly. Whatever it will be, I will be thankful for.”

Natalia plays for the first time at an international competition: “I feel good, I am happy to be here. I want to do my best when I am called to play. I am also a bit excited, but I hope to do a good job.”

Being a teenager means also going to school. “Compared to the other players, I still have to finish school. I study in the morning and then practice in the afternoon”, Natalia says. “Sometimes it is hard because I have to finish my homework after practice, but I really love to play so it’s not a big deal at the end.”

The young Dominican thinks also about her future, of course on the volleyball court: “One of my dreams is to play for the senior national team and to play at the Olympics. I know it won’t be easy but I will do my best for it!”

The Dominican Republic continue their run at Women’s U20 World Champs with their third consecutive win. The Caribbean are already qualified for the second round.

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