Gina Torrealva was at the forefront when the Peruvian national team experienced the best memory of its history as she was one of the outside hitters of the squad that won the silver medal at the Seoul 1988 Olympics and medals in consecutive editions of the FIVB World Championship – silver in 1982 and bronze in 1986.

She might have long retired from her playing career, but continues with her tireless work to take the Peruvian flag as high as possible, now as the head of coach of the country’s team that’s competing at the 2021 FIVB Volleyball Girls’ U18 World Championship in Durango, Mexico.

She started working with the country’s age group teams from U14 to U18 two years ago and didn’t have a good opportunity to see the early result of her work before the tournament as most international events that were supposed to take place since then didn’t happen.

“It’s been hard to work with the team and not being able to compete,” she said. “We had a very limited time to practice with the entire team together and didn’t get to play friendly matches. The squad we have here is talented and formed by players who are willing to work hard and improve. But the best for each of them is yet to come as they continue developing.”

Torrealva and her coaching staff line up during the Peruvian national anthem

Torrealva and her coaching staff line up during the Peruvian national anthem

Patience is Torrealva’s mantra in her new attempt to help Peruvian volleyball to the highest possible spot.

“We started this project almost from square one,” she commented. “And it’s a process, so we’re not rushing anything or putting too much pressure on ourselves. The most important thing for us is the long term. It’s important that these players don’t skip steps and get to the senior team when they’re ready.”

That, however, might be a tough ask in a country that’s so passionate about volleyball as Peru. At the same time the fans in the nation revere and support the legend that takes over a new challenge, they also want to see immediate results.

“Being involved with volleyball in a country that loves the sport as much as Peru is good because we can feel people’s support and enthusiasm,” she reflected. “But at the same time, they want to see results fast and sometimes that’s just not possible and we need to ask them to be patient and give us some time.”