«I dream of fighting for the Olympic qualification», Alejandro Huerta, volleyball player and podium
Beach volleyball is a sport that has been in the lives of Alexander Huertapractically all his life. This man from Tenerife is lucky enough to enjoy and share his passion with some members of his family. Alejandro’s cousin is Sixto Jiménez, a former Olympic volleyball player and former national coach, who years ago decided to create, together with the Arona Town Hall, a school to teach beach volleyball in Tenerife.
Alejandro started beach volleyball as a hobby when he was just 11 years old. Although it was not until he was 13 when he began to practice this sport in a more constant way and with the help of his cousin, Oscar Jimenezhis brother, Javier Huerta and his best friend, Hugo Rojas. “The group we had was very good and training with them was very easy and fun,” Alejandro confesses to Think Big.
The support, the teachings and the values that Sixto transmitted to them during those years was key to trusting themselves and thinking that it was possible to fight for their dream of being an Olympian.
Beach volleyball: from a family sport to an Olympic discipline
Beach volleyball is a popular sport in hot areas which began to be practiced more frequently in the 1920s on the beaches of Santa Monica (California). What initially emerged as a sport to enjoy with the family, would soon spread to other countries. Becoming an Olympic sport in 1996 at the games held in Atlanta.
Closer to home, Spain hosts the national circuit of the Madison Beach Volley Tour, one of the benchmark competitions in this sport. The athletes who participate in this competition add points in the classification table to access other international championships.
Alejandro Huerta’s first competitions
Thus, between touches, sets, sand, laughter and a lot of work, the years passed. And, at 15, Alejandro and Óscar won their first Spanish championship and at 16, they began to compete internationally in lower categories. It was at this time when they were really aware that they were on a par with the rest of the athletes and they could achieve any goal.
The previous qualification for the Under 17 World Cup, in Portugal, was decisive for both. In this tournament, they managed to qualify for the mentioned championship. «We arrived at the World Cup, in Mexico, with the expectation that we could achieve itAlexander recalls. So it was. The couple achieved a third place, ranking among the best in Europe and knowing more clearly that their career had only just taken off.
After this experience, in 2017, the Podium Scholarship Program came into Alejandro’s life to support young promises of Spanish Olympic sport, developed by Telefónica and the Spanish Olympic Committee. For this volleyball player, as for the other 87 dreamers, Podium means an opportunity to be able to fight for your dream. “Without his support it would have been different. It allows us to forget about the economic part and focus on our sporting goals. I am proud to belong to this family“Alexander recounts.
A sport of family connections
A year later, in 2018, began to compete with his brother, Javier. Alejandro says that the connection with the person with whom you compete is very important. Above all, when there are hard times, because when there is a good relationship it is easier to solve the hard times.
Thus, it would be with his brother with whom he would live two very special moments of his sports career. Being one of them, the European Under 22 Championship, where they won a second place and the World Tour in Bangkok, where they got a third place. «Being able to share that experience with my brother was incredible.Alexander confesses.
After this season, Alejandro started 2019 with a new partner, César Menéndez, with whom in 2021 he played the Continental Cup 2021a qualifying tournament for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. In this championship they took fifth place and, despite not qualifying for the Olympics, the athlete acknowledges that it has been one of the tournaments that have marked him the most.
A future of challenges with an eye on Paris 2024
After that season, his partner César made the decision to retire, taking his place Sergi Reñé. This last season has not been easy for both of them, since they have faced Reñé’s injuries, so they have been unable to compete for a while. Meanwhile, Alejandro has continued training with his coaches Fran Marco, current national coach, and Pablo Díaz. In addition to other colleagues at the International Beach Volleyball Center in Lorca (Murcia).
He is clear that, in this area, as in any other, you have to learn to suffer. «Be aware that there are bad times and overcome them. For this, knowing how to suffer is key«. The importance of a healthy mind is crucial. This man from Tarifa confesses that, since he went to the psychologist, he has noticed a change in his way of dealing with various situations.
Alejandro Huerta’s journey has been a path of work and enthusiasm to compete in the Olympic Games. His experience teaches us the beautiful lesson that life is full of ups and downs and it is up to us to face them in the best possible way. No one said that becoming an Olympian was an easy job. Rather the complete opposite. But who wants something, it costs something. And this dreamer, he will make it.