Mexico's Virgen/Galindo Overcome Challenges, Eye Olympic Beach

Mexican beach volleyball duo Virgen/Galindo fight their way through tough matches at Tlaxcala 2024 qualifiers. They overcome close calls and strong opponents to reach semifinals, but their Olympic dream is still two wins away.

Mexico's Virgen/Galindo Overcome Challenges, Eye Olympic Beach
Juan Virgen and Ricardo Galindo are in the semifinals of the Tlaxcala 2024 Beach Volleyball Pre-Olympic. Credit: CONADE

The Mexican team Juan Virgen/Ricardo Galindo showed grit and mettle in moments of high pressure and took one more step towards the ticket to the Olympic Games in Paris, as they qualified for the semifinals of the Tlaxcala 2024 Beach Volleyball Pre-Olympic.

Like their compatriots, Atenas Gutierrez and Susana Torres, the gentlemen triumphed in their two opening matches, so they started the Saturday day playing their last group stage match against Bryce Mayer/Tyler Penberthy (Virgin Islands), who came in as leaders of Group A also with two victories.

It was not an easy task, as the Caribbeans are based in the United States and have first class preparation, which was reflected in a first set they dominated and won by a score of 19-21. However, the Aztecs adjusted their strategy and managed a thrilling comeback by winning the following sets 21-12 and 18-16, which made the crowd erupt in jubilation.

"We have come from less to more in the last two games, the complications at the end of the games we have been able to handle them well, but we try to avoid those scenarios as much as possible; we passed in first place in the group, and we have to wait for the crossings. The good part is coming, which is to win or win, so we are going to give it our all," said Virgen.

"There have been complications, but we have had a lot of communication and feedback despite being the first time we have played together. I think we are growing, there are things that don't go well, but it's part of the game and the tournament. We will continue to grow, communicate with each other and with the coaching staff to see what's next, we will give our best and fight until the end as you have seen," said Galindo.

After winning their section, the Rio 2016 Olympian and Galindo earned the right to play at night to face Dominicans Jardin De Jesus/Oscar Martinez in the quarterfinals, and try to get just two games away from Olympic qualification.

It seemed that everything was going smoothly, as the home team overwhelmed their rivals 21-11 in the first set, but the latter became stronger and overcame not only their opponents in the arena, but also the entire crowd that gathered at the Plaza de Toros Jorge 'El Ranchero' Aguilar to take the second set 21-18.

The third and final set was also full of drama, because even though Virgen and Galindo took a wide lead at the beginning of the match, the Dominicans gave their all and sold their defeat, as the final score was 15-12.

"It was an opponent that made you run a lot and tires you out, but things worked out, and we won, which is the important thing. Ricardo is in the best disposition, I think he is giving it all he has and playing incredible, I hope tomorrow things go well for us. El Salvador is a very young team that has been playing in a great way, so we are going to give everything tomorrow because we will surely be running a lot", reflected Virgen.

The Mexicans will play this Sunday at 11:00 am the semifinals against the Salvadoran brothers Yoel and Christopher Guardado, while the other duel will be between the Canadians Samuel Schachter/Daniel Dearing and the Nicaraguans Ruben Mora/Dany Lopez; the winners of these matches will compete for the quota to Paris 2024.