2018-01-26 12:17:00 CET
Argentinean is looking for a new partner as she tries to qualify to her third Olympics
Hey, you, young Argentinean female beach volleyball player! Do you want to have the best player in the nation by your side, compete in the World Tour and try to qualify your country to the third straight Olympics?
If you answer is yes, consider it your lucky day as Ana Gallay is looking for a new partner to jump in the race for the 2020 Tokyo Games!
The most accomplished Argentinean player to ever play beach volleyball, 32-year-old Gallay is conducting an extensive search around the country to select who she’ll join forces with in the next years.
The process started in 2017 and is currently underway. More recently, Gallay tried out with Fernanda Pereyra, Julieta Puntín, with who she won the Argentinean Beach Games last December, and Cecilia Peralta, with who she competed in a stop of the South American Tour in Brazil last weekend and finished fifth in Nova Viçosa.
“I’ve been trying out with several players since last year, but it hasn’t been easy,” Gallay told beachmajorseries.com. “There are lots of girls playing in Argentina now, but beach volleyball here is almost an amateur sport. Lots of them would love to have a chance to go out there and compete and we are trying to make the best choice.”
ANA GALLAY, GRAN PROTAGONISTA DE LOS JUEGOS ARGENTINOS DE PLAYA La dos veces olímpica Ana Gallay se dio el gran gusto de ser campeona en su Entre Ríos natal, donde se realizaron los Juegos...
Gallay has competed in 58 World Tour events in her career so far, the most for a female Argentinean player, winning one silver medal, in Xiamen, China, in 2015, and her priority is remaining competitive in the international scene for years to come.
Standing at only 1.73m, Gallay is one of the shortest blockers in the tour and she initially planned on finding a taller partner, so she could transition to defense in 2018. However, the decision to be made by her and head coach Pablo Del Coto will be only based on competitiveness, even if that means Gallay will have to keep facing much taller opponents at the net.
“My coach and I will make the decision and our priority is to find someone who has what it takes to compete among the best teams in the World Tour,” she added. “Initially our plan was to look for a taller player so I could play defense, but for now our focus is just on finding the right player, regardless of if she’s a blocker or a defender.”
Con un poco más de gente entrenando ! @ju_puntin @virgizonta @peraltachechuu @gonzaaulisi @ferpereyra2
334 Likes, 1 Comments - Ana Gallay (@anita_amg) on Instagram: "Con un poco más de gente entrenando ! @ju_puntin @virgizonta @peraltachechuu @gonzaaulisi..."
The search for a new partner has started a while ago and has no specific date to end. That means Gallay could miss the Fort Lauderdale Major, which will happen from February 27 to March 4, if a new partner has not been assigned yet.
The Argentinean, who competed in the Florida tournament last year, hopes everything falls in place on time so she can return to the United States and have her new partnership debut in what is expected to be one of the most exciting events of the year.
“We want to make the decision as soon as possible, but we will take as much time as we need to make sure we choose the right player,” Gallay told us. “It would be great if I could start my new partnership in the Fort Lauderdale Major, but I will only play there if I have a new partner already.”
Gallay was left without a partner last May, when Georgina Klug, with who she finished 19th at Rio 2016 Olympics and won gold at the 2015 Pan-American Games, surprisingly decided to retire at the age of 32.
As the season progressed, she resumed her partnership with Virginia Zonta – the two were the first women to qualify Argentina to the Olympics in beach volleyball in London 2012 – but the year ended with Gallay attending only five World Tour tournaments, the least in her career since 2012.
“Last year was a tough one for me,” the Argentinean veteran admitted. “When Georgina decided to retire, it was a blow on my plans. I played in Vienna with Virginia Zonta because Argentina had qualified to compete in the World Championships, but the plan was already to look for a new partner. I hope I can play more tournaments in the World Tour in 2018 and get back to the level I was used to.”
Being on her third Olympics, by the way, is the fuel behind Gallay’s motivation to secure a competitive partner and return as soon as possible to international competition. With London’s and Rio’s experiences under her belt, she is comfortable on starting it all over again with a new partner.
“One of the things that keep me playing is the desire to compete in the Tokyo Olympics,” she acknowledges. “In the cycle that led to Rio, Georgina and I had a great achievement, which was ranking as one of the best 16 teams in the word. I believe Argentina has a shot on qualifying to Tokyo as well, especially through the Continental Cup, which starts this year. I know I will have a young partner by my side, but if we start playing this year she’ll have enough time to acquire the international experience she needs.”
And, whoever the selected player is, she couldn’t be in better company, right?