Challenge - Jurmala, LAT - 2023 - Beach Pro Tour 2023 season - News


Gallay and partner Pereyra will start their campaign in Jurmala in the main draw

Ana Gallay hasn’t appeared on the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour since July 2022, but the most successful Argentinean beach volleyball female player to ever compete internationally is not done yet.

Fully recovered from a shoulder injury that sidelined her for almost a year, the 37-year-old veteran is set to return at his week’s Jurmala Challenge with the ambitious goal of starting her journey to compete at the Olympics for the fourth time.

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Gallay, who has been playing internationally since 2007 and has appeared in as many as 82 international events in her career, had a dislocated right shoulder last September. Since she had already undergone surgery for the same problem in 2020, the Argentinean looked for other options of treatment in order to avoid a long-term absence again.

After five weeks of recovery, things were headed in the right direction and she was already envisioning a return to the Beach Pro Tour, but she got the same injury again, which made the need for a surgical procedure inevitable at the beginning of November.

The veteran returned to the gym immediately after the surgery and after just two months had already recovered full mobility in her shoulder and was already taking part in drills with the ball – something it took her five months to accomplish after her first surgery.

“I was very fortunate to have an excellent team taking care of me with Dr. Diego Albertengo handling the surgery and fitness coach Juan Baldino helping me get back in shape,” she told Volleyball World. “I love what I do and am very excited to get back to the Beach Pro Tour. Competing against teams that have been active since the start of the season will be challenging, but I have to start somewhere, so let’s see how it goes. The goal is to return to the court and improve as much as possible.”

The injury interrupted a positive moment for Gallay and partner Fernanda Pereyra, who after failing to advance from the qualifier in their first event in the 2022 season, the Itapema Challenge, secured back-to-back top-ten finishes in Espinho and Agadir.

BPT Challenge Espinho - Women Main draw - ARGvs AUT_07

Pereyra and Gallay in action during last year's Espinho Challenge

The South Americans are guaranteed in the main draw in Jurmala and will start their campaign in the Latvian tournament on Friday. Prior to heading to Europe, where they will also compete at the Gstaad Elite16 and the Espinho Challenge, the two appeared in two events of the South American Tour and Gallay was satisfied with the level of play she was able to display.

“My first event back was in Río Hondo, at the end of April, just five and a half months after surgery, and I felt very well physically,” she explained. “I also felt very well on the South American Tour Finals, in Uberlândia, in May, but the lack of rhythm got to me and it took a toll on us mentally.”

With Olympic appearances in London 2012, Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020, Gallay is easily the most accomplished Argentinean female player to ever play the game, but she’s looking to further boost her resumé and represent her country at the Paris 2024 Games too.

If she manages to do it, she will tie the legendary Martin Conde, who played in each edition of the Games between 1996 and 2008, as the only players in the country to appear in four Olympics.

“Making it to the Olympics is always the ultimate goal,” Gallay reflected. “I would love to try and qualify via the Olympic Rankings, as I did with Georgina Klug for Rio, but given the difficult economic situation in Argentina, we’re not really sure how many Beach Pro Tour events we’ll get to play at, so the South American pathway looks like the most realistic road for us. One way or the other, we’ll need to work hard because all other countries are preparing really well for it.”

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