Nanjing, China, July 12, 2017 – Costa Rica’s Lucia Matarrita Soto and Valeria Maria Matarrita Soto are the shortest team at the 2017 FIVB U21 Beach Volleyball World Championships, but are out to prove that height isn’t everything on the court.Quick links - Beach volleyball:Nanjing U21 - WebsiteNanjing U21 - Women's TeamsNanjing U21 - Men's TeamsFIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour 20172017 FIVB World Championships - Beach Volleyball2017 FIVB World Championships - Beach Volleyball qualificationRio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games - Beach VolleyballFIVB.com - Beach VolleyballLatest VideosFacebookTwitterInstagramMedia Guides
Despite their young age eighteen-year-old Valeria Maria and her younger sister, sixteen-year-old Lucia have already been playing together for five years after their father introduced them to the sport.
“We started beach volleyball because of my father, he was a volleyball player so he introduced us to the beautiful beach volleyball environment and we’ve been enjoying the experience so far.
“Our coach is our father and we train three days in the week and also at the weekend,” said Valeria Maria.
Costa Rica's Lucia Matarrita Soto
The Costa Rican sisters compete in their first international competition and are adjusting to the environment.
“It was a long trip to get here, it took us two days. It’s our first competition and I think it’s very cool. The sand is different for us here it’s very soft and we’re used to playing on harder sand. The conditions are also difficult here, it’s hard to breath. Even though it’s hot in Costa Rica, here is very humid,” said Valeria Maria.
At just 157cm tall, the pair is the shortest on the courts in Nanjing by a substantial margin.
“I feel like a minion right now because we are the smallest women in all the teams. We try to play faster to overcome the height difference. Because we are not very tall so we hope to gain experience here so that we can improve in Costa Rica,” said Valeria Maria.Costa Rica's Lucia Matarrita Soto (right) and Valeria Maria Matarrita Soto
Matarrita/V Mattarita enter directly into Nanjing main draw pool play in one of the toughest pools including reigning champions, Brazil’s Eduarda Santos Lisboa and Ana Patricia Silva Ramos.
“We are feeling very nervous about our match against Brazil, but we hope we can play our best,” said Valeria Maria.
Costa Rica is also represented in the men’s main draw with Nicolas Velluti Morales and Fabian Guerra Esquival.
“Beach volleyball is popular in Costa Rica and we have a national competition with thirteen women’s teams and thirteen men’s teams competing over six months,” said Valeria Maria.
A total of 30 different nations are represented within the women’s competition and 29 in the men’s at the U21 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships.