Two UTNBA students participated in the First Pan American University Games “FISU AMERICA GAMES”, which took place in Sao Paulo, Brazil, becoming sub-champions with the Argentine University Volleyball Team.
Andrés Arduino, Industrial Engineering student, and Juan Guzmán, Civil Engineering student, participated in the competition with UTNBA’s support.
Alejandro Tripicchio, Sports director of UTNBA’s Office of University Affairs, explained that “the Sports Area has set new goals, among which is becoming part of the national sports institutional framework. For this reason, since March we have been in permanent contact with members of the Argentine University Sports Federation (in Spanish, FEDUA). They informed us that these two students had been invited to participate and thus we stayed in touch with them to make sure we did everything necessary so that they could join the competition.”
Although the students had been called to play with the Argentine university team, they had to bear the costs of the competition. Then, Tripicchio explained, he met with Eng. Rubén Dellagiovanna, UTNBA’s Secretary of University Affairs, and then “we submitted the request to the Administrative Office so that UTNBA would have its first representatives in a historic event, because these were the first Pan American University Games. The helpful attitude and speed in the administrative circuit was essential for this achievement.”
The School paid for the plane tickets, competition enrollment fees and accommodation of both students.
Juan Guzmán is a Civil Engineering student and, although FISU America Games is his first international experience, he has played volleyball professionally since he was 16.
“This has been my first international experience and my expectation was to have a good performance in the tournament at a team level and, at an individual level, to be in the spotlight a little more. I felt very well. I didn’t play much because the official players had already been defined and I had a different role; but in the friendly matches we played before the tournament I felt I played very well. I left with a great image of myself, my team and the tournament in general,” Guzmán stated.
The Civil Engineering student explained that the players summoned to join the volleyball team change every year: “actually, it is an open trial, but the coordinators and coaches already have an idea of who they might be summoning. They called us and told us to train with the National Team. It was like that for almost everybody in the team. Once it was almost complete, a new open trial was held to fill the remaining positions,” he explained.
Andrés Arduino, Industrial Engineering student, has been part of the Argentine Volleyball Team since 2011, which won the 2017 world championship. In addition, he was chosen team captain for the Pan American University Games.
“This tournament was a nice challenge for me; besides, I was chosen captain and it was a different role from the one I’ve had previously. I took it seriously. I felt the pressure because I believed we would have a good performance, I was certain of that. But I felt the pressure anyway. In relation to my role as captain, I felt I acted in the same way as I do in my club, everywhere,” Arduino said.
The Team captain explained that the hardest part of training for the tournament was that “there were players who came from the inner provinces of the country and it was difficult to be all together to train. Sometimes we meet two or three days in a row and had double-shift trainings, friendly games, as much as possible during that period. And the good thing was that with the friendly games we had in Brazil we were able to consolidate the team and find an identity which helped us to be very close to becoming champions.”
During the Pan American University Games, the Argentine team played against Colombia, Canada and Mexico, and lost the final match against Brazil.
“All the matches were very intense and the result is deceiving because we won the three games before the final with a score of 3-0, so we got there as the candidates for the championship and each match was really challenging for us. There were sets ending with a score of 28-27,” Guzmán recalled.
For Arduino, “the first game was perhaps the one we played the worst, but then we slowly relaxed and ended up playing very well. In fact, we were not champions due to small drawbacks. I’m convinced that we had everything to win, but this is what it’s like. The final match was 3-2 and we lost it in tie break.”
“We have had a good push and the fact that we were tied 2 – 2 was a real setback because we were two points away from winning the gold medal and that affected us very much, emotionally speaking,” Guzmán explained.
To conclude, the Team captain recalled that “one week before travelling we were told that we would have to bear all the expenses. At that moment, the help given by Alejandro Tripicchio was crucial. He immediately got in contact with the School authorities and they took care of everything. He created a Whatsapp group so that we could let him know if we needed anything, if we were fine, and it was really great support, for which we are very grateful to him.”
In this sense, the School support given to the students was part of an institutional decision to accompany students professionally participating in sports disciplines and to promote sports practice in UTNBA.