Veronica Gorigoitia, a 65-year-old beach volleyball enthusiast, embodies the spirit of lifelong passion for sport. Her journey, from playing indoor volleyball in university to becoming a key figure in Chile’s beach volleyball community, is a testament to her dedication and love for the game. As she prepares for her first IMGA event in Cleveland, Veronica shares her story, experiences, and the profound impact volleyball has had on her life.

Can you give us a little introduction about yourself and your favourite sport?

My name is Veronica Gorigoitia, 65 years old, married for 42 years, 3 children, 2 grandchildren. My sport is beach volleyball. I started playing indoor volleyball in university. Then in 1993, we built a house at the beach, and my husband, children, and I started playing volleyball on the sand.

Have you been to any IMGA events before?

No, this is the first time. It’s very exciting.

What has kept your love of volleyball alive for so many years?

I love beach volleyball, its my passion. I could play every day! About 20 years ago, we started playing more competitively in pairs. It started one day while I was playing volleyball on the beach in front of my house. I met Gustavo Pollier, one of the first beach volleyball players in Chile. He generously taught a group of us the beach volleyball rules and techniques. Gustavo Pollier continues to play in several tournaments in Chile and abroad in international master games.

Six years ago, we started training regularly in our sports club in Santiago Club Manquehue with the best coach, Carlos Eduardo Garrido, Olympian Player. He is from Brazil and came to Chile to coach the No. 1 duo of Chile, Primos Grimalt. In 2018, he was hired by our club as head coach of beach volleyball.

What has been your most special sporting moment so far?

The most special sporting event for me was creating the beach Volleyball branch in our club (Club Manquehue) in 2019 with a small group of players. I was in charge of the branch for 5 years, working with our head coach Carlos Eduardo Garrido to organize everything including classes, special activities, and tournaments.

Our most important tournaments so far were the first master games in Chile in 2022 and 2024. This year we hosted 17 pairs from abroad (Brazil, Peru, Argentina, and Uruguay) and there were 48 pairs of women and men in total. It was great! In Chile, we don’t have many players in master’s categories. Our head coach has been very instrumental to encourage us in thinking big always.

How does sport influence your daily life ?

It’s very important. It keeps me busy training, in good health, and most importantly, very happy. I am very grateful to be playing so much at this age, and I would like to continue as long I can.

My partner Monika Friederichs, (who is 5 years my junior), and I, train together, 3 times a week and have a wonderful time. I have known Monika for 30 years, when we met playing indoor volleyball in our Club Manquehue. We are very good friends!

Could you share a moment in your life where sport played a big role in overcoming a difficult event or time?

It helps in every moment of my life. I never get depressed because I have beach volleyball!

What is your advice to anyone considering pursuing masters sport?

We should continue practicing sports as much and for as long as we can. It helps us to maintain happiness and health.We should continue practicing sports as much and for as long as we can. It helps us to maintain happiness and health.

And finally, what are you most looking forward to about the IMGA Masters Games in Cleveland?

To do a good job on the court and to have the opportunity to share the game with people of my age. It’s an amazing opportunity for me!

Sport Health and Wellbeing News Cleveland 2024 Uncategorized