Vienna, Austria, August 1, 2019 – Less than 48 hours after winning a historical gold medal at the Pan-American Games, the Grimalt cousins Marco and Esteban were back on a beach volleyball court in a different continent as the Chileans debuted at the A1 Major Vienna here Thursday.
The 30-year-old Marco and the 28-year-old Esteban took a flight from Lima, where they claimed the historical Pan-American title, the first-ever beach volleyball medal for their country, to the Austrian capital just a few hours after the gold medal match. And they couldn’t have arrived in greater style as nearly 15 hours after their plane landed they posted a 2-1 (21-19, 12-21, 15-12) Pool G win over Italy’s Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai.
“It was a long way here and we barely arrived on time for the technical meeting, but to start the tournament here beating the Olympic silver medallists, it makes us feel it was all worth it,” Marco commented.
“Our bodies are very tired, but our minds are very strong and confident and that’s what made the difference for us. We had rough moments in the match, but our minds were exactly where they should be and that was crucial for us to get this win.”
The Chileans are now in contention for the top spot of the pool as they will face Brazilians André Loyola and George Wanderley, who downed Canadians Ben Saxton and Grant O’Gorman 2-0 (21-14, 21-16) in their opening Vienna Major match.
Their title in Lima was yet another accomplishment for the Chilean cousins who last year became the first players from their country to win a World Tour medal when they topped the podium at the three-star tournament in Tokyo.
“It’s a big honour for us to have won the Pan-American Games,” Esteban added. “It’s a massive result for us and for our country because Chile traditionally doesn’t win several gold medals in the Pan-American Games. It’s hard to fully commit to a sports career in our country, but we’ve been seeing other athletes come out and succeed and that makes us very happy.”
“It was something we wanted to accomplish this year and now that we have done it, it just gives us extra motivation and energy to keep fighting and pursuing our other goals.”