2016-12-06 15:49:00 CEST

More Than Sports: The secret weapon of Gallay/Klug

Argentina’s beach volleyball team has new goals for next season

Ana Gallay and Georgina Klug had plenty of highlights during the past season: Three times Argentina’s beach volleyball queens reached the semifinals on the FIVB World Tour. As the first ever women’s team from Argentina, they managed to qualify for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro through the world ranking.

En semifinal del @swatchmajorseries! VAMOS ARGENTINA!!! #klagenfurtmajor @sgweberarg @oakleyarg #banconacion #upcnentrerios #purísima #venergydrink #14.sb.com

See this Instagram photo by @geoklug * 333 likes

Ana and Georgina have been the bogey opponent of many World Tour teams, even though they measure just 1.73 (Ana) and 1.72 meters (Georgina) tall. They are like two balls of energy, jumping through the sand, cheering for every point, brushing aside the big names on the other side of the net. At the World Tour finals in Toronto, they even beat Olympic gold medalists Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst. “We do not care who is standing at the other side,” Georgina tells us.

We are fighters, that’s the best thing we have

One of their most impressive performances was the bronze medal match at A1 Major Klagenfurt when Gallay/Klug and their opponents Nina Betschart and Tanja Hüberli (SUI) dropped to the sand after a dramatic 20:22 in the third set. Gallay/Klug did not win the match but they won the hearts of a lot spectators. “We are fighters, that’s the best thing we have,” Georgina says.

“We were dying in that game,” Georgina says. She and Ana (left) after the bronze medal match in Klagenfurt. Credit: Sebastian Marko.“We were dying in that game,” Georgina says. She and Ana (left) after the bronze medal match in Klagenfurt. Credit: Sebastian Marko.

It was not all that long ago, that Georgina Klug had no idea, how to play beach volleyball. In 2012, Ana Gallay and her partner Maria Zonta wanted to qualify for the Olympic Games in London, but they needed a second team to make it through the Continental Cup.

Georgina was playing indoor in Indonesia when she got a call to help. She had three weeks to make her first steps in the sand. “I didn´t even know the rules,” she says. But she succeeded, Argentina won against Uruguay, and Ana and Maria became the first ever Argentinian women’s team to participate at the Olympics.

"I didn’t even know what the World Tour was"

Georgina, who has been captain of the indoor volleyball team, was almost finishing her career. She got married in 2012 and wanted to slow down – but after the Olympics Ana asked her to play the FIVB World Tour with her. “I didn’t even know what the World Tour was,” Georgina laughs.

Toronto 2016!😊 #worldtourfinals #swatchmajorseries

See this Instagram photo by @geoklug * 527 likes

Now she knows. And so does the World Tour. Georgina Klug is an extremely powerful woman, with a powerful voice you could hear in Klagenfurt, even if she is playing in Gstaad. “I cannot stop that, although our coach tells us we lose too much energy and have to rest more between the points.” But the emotionality is also the secret weapon of Gallay/Klug. Sometimes the opponents seem to be exhausted facing so much energy. “Sometimes it is, if they stop fighting against us,” Georgina tells us.

More efficiency should help to enter the podium

But she also knows that she needs to find a way to save energy. Because of their height, Ana and Georgina have to jump higher than others. “Sometimes we could not improve any more in the semifinal, because we were so tired.” Three times, they missed out on a podium place last season. Now Ana and Georgina will work hard physically and focus on their efficiency in the game. Next season, they want to improve as a team.

If Tokyo will be the next goal – but it’s an option that they will leave open. “We are not that young anymore,” Georgina says. She is 32 and Ana is 30, and there is coming a new generation of beach volleyball players from Argentina on the horizon. In 2018 the Youth Olympic Games will take place in Buenos Aires. Many schools in Argentina start with beach volleyball now. “We already have a lot of volleyball, but the coaches don’t want the players to go to the beach.” Georgina is hoping for a change, as she experienced late herself – but not too late the magic of beach volleyball.

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