2018-03-29 13:05:00 CEST
Marco and Esteban Grimalt have already transformed beach volleyball in Chile…but they want more
There will come a time when the history of beach volleyball in Chile will be divided in to two moments – before and after the Grimalt cousins. Marco, 28, and Esteban, 27, have been the faces of the sport in the country for the last years and their unprecedented international accomplishments are already changing the status of beach volleyball in Chile.
“When we started, not many people followed beach volleyball,” Esteban tells beachmajorseries.com. “It had been very popular in the 90s, but it regressed and was considered only a summer sport for most people. After our results, the sport developed and the country got excited about it. Now there are beach volleyball schools operating during the entire year. Step by step, the mentality has changed.”
Playing together in the World Tour since 2011, Marco and Esteban have achieved unprecedented success for beach volleyball in Chile. The cousins started their trajectory together collecting a handful of medals in the South American Tour, until they decided it was time to aim bigger goals.
Marco and Esteban form the only Chilean team to ever win medals in the World Tour as they claimed silver in Argentina and South Africa, both in 2014. They were also the first beach volleyball players to ever represent their country in the Olympic Games as they competed in Rio 2016, finishing 19th.
The result Rio, though, was insignificant if compared to the effect the accomplishment had in the country.
“In the beginning of our careers, we could only dream about everything we ultimately accomplished,” Marco says. “And now it’s all real. Our qualification to the Olympic Games helped a lot the development of beach volleyball in Chile. It stimulated people to play and strengthened the work at youth and junior levels. We hope we are only the tip of the iceberg for this sport in our country.”
And if someone was to play a pivotal role in the development of beach volleyball in Chile, it would definitely be a Grimalt. The family is strongly connected to indoor and beach volleyball in the country, having one or more of its members as part of the national teams for the last 40 years.
Marco and Esteban, by the way, were strongly inspired by their uncles, the brothers Rodrigo ‘Yoyo’ and Ricardo, who competed together in the World Tour from 1987 to 1990. They just managed to take it to another level.
“The Grimalt family has done so much for the sport in Chile,” Marco adds. “We are proud to keep the tradition and looking forward to keep writing a good story in Chile and maximizing our sport and getting better as a team.”
With the success, of course, comes responsibility. The young cousins are now popular faces in the country and became an example of hard work and efficiency for the entire nation.
Still relatively young, the cousins are very aware of their roles in country’s sports scene.
“It makes us proud,” Esteban says. “We know we represent a lot of people, including our family and our city of Linares, which gives us unbelievable support. We know it’s a huge responsibility to be a reference for other people and we need to show it inside and outside the courts every single day. We take it very seriously and we want to remain as a positive reference to everybody in Chile.”
Marco and Esteban have already done a lot for the Chilean sport, but their mission is far from concluded on their eyes. After they did what many would consider impossible, they want to keep pushing for the growth of beach volleyball in their country.
“Our goals are really high and we want to keep checking all the boxes,” Marco concluded. “We want to be in the Olympics again and put Chile in the best place we can. Some sports are very amateur in our country and we want to help changing it and making volleyball stronger. Chile is a large country, with a huge coast and we can play there all-year long. Beach volleyball can be massive there.”
You are definitely on the right path, guys!