30/07/2018 12:00
From Love to the Game: Latvia’s rising star Tina Graudina is back!
2018 CEV U22 Beach Volleyball European Championship

Jurmala, Latvia, July 30, 2018. Do you know what is the thing that makes the difference between somebody who plays Beach Volleyball and somebody who is really good at it? Have you ever questioned yourself why some players make it to the top and others, as much talented as they are, could not reach the highest level possible?

Maybe we all have our different opinions and points of view – some are mostly professionally based, but in sports, as we know, something else counts as well. And it is the true love to what you are doing and the dedication you put into it; these ‘small’ details can make the ‘big difference’.

On Sunday, the 2018 CEV U22 Beach Volleyball European Championship reached its climax with the medal matches. But before that – teams from all over Europe locked horns to eventually determine who the best ones are.

In the women’s tournament the name of the Latvian Tina Graudina was one of the most often heard – supporters wanting to take a photo with her (and her teammate) after every match; spectators saying that they can see her passion for the game.

Although Tina is only twenty years old, she has a wide experience in the game – and not only that: she is among the best ones in her age group. Apart from being an U22 European champion in 2016 with Anastasija Kravcenoka, Tina won as well gold at the 2015 U18 European Championship, but with a different partner. She has a bronze medal from the 2014 U17 World Championship on her resume as well.

So, who is that young lady that is stealing the hearts of the fans?

“I started playing tennis at first and then I took up athletics and Beach Volleyball at the same time, so I haven’t really played indoors that much. I have always considered myself as a Beach Volleyball player,” Graudina presents herself.

Playing Volleyball is a tradition in her family as she shares that she received the first lessons from her father, who was an indoor Volleyball player, and who showed her some ‘tricks’ in the family garden: “Volleyball is our family sport – when we unite together, we play only this game.”

But what is Beach Volleyball to Tina?

“About Beach Volleyball I like the adrenaline that it gives to me, because I like how much each point costs to a team – you can either lose or win by one point, so it’s a game of precision that I truly enjoy.”

What makes Tina different now, is that she is studying Political sciences in the USA – something that she likes a lot as her education is very important to her. However, she is planning to keep returning each summer to Europe, in order to play at home: “I want to be always coming back here, for the love of Beach Volleyball here. At least this season I couldn’t wait to get here and start playing again. The level that I play in Europe is higher than the one at university. I don’t want to disappear in the US.”

“This was my first year in the USA – at the University of Southern California, in LA. I am very happy that I can play volleyball outdoors all year long. When I finished my season there, I came back to Latvia where I reunited with my partner and we started to play together again,” Tina continues and we can easily read on her face how pleased she is to be back home, in Europe, playing together with her partner. “Until now, we have been playing every single week since the 20th of June, so it’s been quite a journey – a lot of ups and downs, good games and bad games, but that’s why I really enjoyed the tournament in Jurmala, because I didn’t have to fly anywhere; also because it’s nice to see a lot of familiar faces – it’s a nice feeling being at home where everybody is behind you.”

Tina told us about her experience in the last year in the USA and where she likes it most to play:  “Beach Volleyball in the USA is a little bit different from the one we know in Europe. One of the obvious things is that we play with a different ball, but also the style of the game is a little bit different. So, I think it is good for me that I get to learn both styles – American and European, to add maybe a little more unpredictableness to my way of playing.”

Tina describes herself as competitive and positive, never giving up and fighting until the end.

So, let’s get back to the top of the article.

What is the thing that makes a player successful (even though that player has just lost the gold medal match of #EuroBeachVolleyU22 as Tina) and others – not?

To us, the answer is one - it is the love that players like Tina have for their sport. That ‘small’ detail can have a huge impact and eventually builds up the ‘big differences’.

Click here for further information.

News nr. 1 of 9
29/07/2018 17:35:00
Gold for Latvia and Russia at #EuroBeachVolleyU22

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