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2016-07-05 18:45:00 CET

South Africans living the beach volleyball dream

Life is made of small moments on the sand

Simone (left) and Luciana (right) all smiles in Gstaad. Photocredit: Daniel Gollner.Simone (left) and Luciana (right) all smiles in Gstaad. Photocredit: Daniel Gollner.

It’s not often two beach volleyball players hop excitedly into your office smiling after they had experienced a heavy defeat.

But these two are different. They are, in their own words, living the dream.

South African duo Simone Sittig and Luciana Pierangeli are the only women’s team on the World Tour from Africa. Together they caught the beach volleyball bug and now they are showing the world what can be done with hard work, dedication and bucket loads of enthusiasm.

“It started with a dream,” says Simone, who combines her beach volleyball with her own sports therapy skills. Luciana is originally from Argentina but her family is from South Africa. She came to study in South Africa and played beach volleyball against our now current coach, Judith Augoustides – who represented South Africa in beach volleyball at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

“All Luciana needed was a partner – they found me and that’s where it all started. Our dream was to play on the World Tour and that’s what we’ve done. We’ve taken it by the horns, funded it ourselves and now here we are, living the dream.”

Luciana says the pair are living proof that you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it.

“It was a dream and we made it happen,” says Luciana, beaming with pride. “We always believed in ourselves, ignored the naysayers and focused on the positive things. It was our dream to inspire people to do what we do.

“And if we can do it, anyone can do it. We’re 35 and 36 years old – it’s never too late to follow your passion.”

The girls get a guide to Snapchat. Photocredit: Daniel Gollner.The girls get a guide to Snapchat. Photocredit: Daniel Gollner.

The happy-go-lucky duo brightened up our office so much that we got them to take over our Snapchat account (@SwatchMajors).

But the pair hope that their fairytale can help those less fortunate than them back home in South Africa.

“The Olympics is all about participation and bringing people together,” says Luciana. “Sport is more than just adrenaline, passion, discipline, teamwork and trust – it would be great if we can take it back home and use beach volleyball to lift our country and give skills to people.”

“We’d like to give children a reason to stay off the streets, especially using beach volleyball,” adds Simone. “We want to get kids active in South Africa. There’s a lot of poor areas in South Africa but these places have a lot of sand. It’s our idea to develop beach volleyball in South Africa.

‘You need to start at the bottom but it’s also at the top level where you need inspiration – and that’s what we’re doing.”

The girls were on the receiving end of a heavy defeat in their qualification match here in Gstaad but how’s this for a refreshing attitude?

“We win in moments,” says Simone. “We twice aced two of the world’s best players. The scoreboard might be embarrassing but you have to put your ego aside. Our wins exist in moments.”

“One point is gold for us,” says Luciana. “The more moments we have in a set then sooner the win will come. It’s only a matter of time.”

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