As in all big projects, the Dominican Republic had to come a long way before having the triumphs it is getting today from its women’s national volleyball team.
Through a huge amount of sacrifice and an unbreakable dedication, private businessmen and the Dominican Volleyball Federation placed in the world map of volleyball a nation that today is beating first world countries such as France, England, Portugal, Argentina, Germany, Korea, Canada and big sports models such as the ones in Cuba and Puerto Rico.
It all started with a recruiting program of foreign coach, that came to the country through agreements with the Ministry of Sports, who at the same time identified this discipline as the one that could bring the most followers, specifically in women.
The Dominican Volleyball Team has big challenges ahead. This 2014, they will have its usual presentation at the Grand Prix, a tournament that has the best teams of the world.
The Dominicans made 2013 their best year, being this the best news considering they have to prepare for the big event of 2015: the PanAmerican Games of Toronto.
For the second time in Canadian land, the six Dominicans will have the chance to get back to the glory they have been denied of in the last two editions of the most important sports competition of the continent.
Those golden days of august, when the local team beat Cuba in the big final of Santo Domingo 2003, are what these young girls want to relive next year in Toronto.
For the PanAmerican tournament, the six main girls might change, such as the star player Karla Echenique, who will go to school in Puerto Rico and leave the team for some months. The technical body hopes that before arriving in Toronto, the new girls on the team won’t drive them away from the tricoloured dream.
It is by the hand of the private businessman Cristobal Marte, when they start to create the successful formula to Dominican volleyball, a better technical team and an economic support that goes beyond the money that the state gives them. Marte has highlighted as the base of success of its precious Project of Women’s Teams, the fact that all the effort was put into the most important piece of the sport: the players.
The FEDOVOLI (Dominican Federation of Volleyball for its translation in spanish) created in 1997 a housing complex for the players that belonged to the project, accomplishing an atmosphere of concentration that was adequate for high performance athletes.
Marte went around the country making the parents of these girls realize that in this sport they could accomplish as much or more recognition than in other sports, participating in the different competition the Federation supports.
It is worth noting that unlike these years where the professional volleyball league of the national district is inexistent, the presence of clubs in superior national tournaments was a luxury for any volleyball player, either a man or a woman.
It is also important to point out that although they have come up in the world ranking, men’s volleyball has been completely lagging if we compare it to what the women’s team has accomplished. This happens because, according to Marte, the big majority of young men with a good body or ability to play sports, go after the millions of dollars that baseball offers from a young age, or if they have a decent height they end up playing basketball where there are bigger possibilities of helping their families financially.
The men’s team came up to the 29th spot after an active participation in 2013, which included the victory of the World Classificatory Championship FIVB in the British Virgin Islands. While this happened in the men’s team, the women’s professional team came up to the eighth place in the world ranking FIVB, only bellow Brazil, United States, Japan, Italy China, Russia and Serbia. “It is huge to come all this way up in the world ranking, which speaks by itself when it comes to the hard work the team has put on, under the supervision of a dedicated technical body” said Marte Hoffiz.
From this technical body, someone that directs the talents of our country stands out, the Brazilian Marcos Kweik, who took over the team after Beato Miguel de la Cruz left in 2008.
The athletic performance has been in hands of foreign coaches, Cuban or Brazilian. That includes the World Grand Prix and the Champions Cup. “This is something administrative”, said Cristian Cruz from the technical body of the women’s team. “The talent is there and in all those teams we have had Dominicans”.
Cruz, who works with the junior categories, was an assistant of his dad, Beato, in who’s technical body was Alexis Sánchez, director of the junior categories. It is the first time that the whole technical team of the team is from a Dominican background.
Detecting the talent that comes through a serious program of recruiting promoted by the private initiative of the federation, together with the technical help of foreigns and some heart, comes the base and the reason of the success of the more times champion sport of the Domincan Republic, volleyball.