Tokyo (Associated Press)—— Beach Volleyball Is looking for new sand to conquer.
After decades of domination in the United States and Brazil, the sport is played on the coast from Southern California to Copacabana, and the sport has become more diverse due to the FIVB’s outreach in countries without a long tradition. .
Teams from Morocco to Mexico won the Tokyo seat by guaranteeing at least one seat on each continent. The Qatar men’s doubles, who was born in Africa, is one of the hottest candidates to win the medal.
“It is every athlete’s dream to compete in the biggest arena, just like Olympic,” Kenyan Guadencia Marcoca, Their team ranked 96th in the FIVB, but won the African qualifiers and got a place in Tokyo.
But not everywhere.
Only five countries have won medals in the women’s side, with Brazil and the United States occupying 13 of the possible 18 podiums. Nine different men’s teams have brought home medals, but even so, most people have gone to the United States and Brazil.
Most of the people participating in the Olympics are also common suspects: the United States and Brazil each sent four teams to Tokyo, but this is because the national quota limits each country to two per gender; without it, the two traditional powers would It will squeeze out potential rising powers and grab up to nine seats in the women’s team.
“It’s nice to see other countries. It just shows how big the sport is,” said American Sarah Spencer. “I think the sport is growing every year. So every time we step on the court, we are praying for more and more new faces.”
The FIVB also reserves nearly one-third of the Olympic venues for the 24 teams for the intercontinental qualifiers. In Tokyo, it includes not only the Kenyan women’s team, but also the world-ranked 67th Moroccan men’s team. The Argentine men’s team is ranked 38th, and the Australian men’s team is ranked 46th. However, they did not participate in international competitions due to the isolation regulations of the motherland.
“That’s it Olympic Roughly the same? “Italy’s Adrian Calambra said. “It’s great to see all the countries and the opening ceremony of the Olympic Village. I like to compete with them and see their culture. “
According to Waithaka Kioni, president of the Kenya Volleyball Federation, many African countries have almost no Beach Volleyball Tradition and little official support for building the required infrastructure. only And Brackcides Khadambi are the first Kenyans to qualify Beach Volleyball exist Olympic.
“This is history for us,” Kioni said. “If your government is not too keen to spend money on sports, then you have a problem. Considering resources, this may go further.”
The FIVB stated that this is exactly the goal of the Continental Cup, which was created before the London Olympics.
According to FIFA, there are unprecedented 169 countries in the continental qualifiers for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Although the pandemic has affected this cycle, 132 countries still participated in 63 qualifiers for the Tokyo Olympics.
“We hope that all countries have the opportunity to experience this beautiful sport Beach Volleyball,” the FIVB said.
Entering the final day of the preliminaries on Saturday, the Kenyans lost to Latvia and the United States in straight sets 0-2; the match against Sponcil and Kelly Claes lasted 25 minutes-the shortest ever Olympic The current format is adopted.
But friends and family in Nairobi woke up at 3 in the morning to watch, maybe the first Beach Volleyball Many of them have met.
“We try to convince people that everything is possible,” only Say. “It’s about pursuing what you want and achieving it.”
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