CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — An athlete since the age of 12, Giuliana Poletti Corrales set her eyes on mastering the art of volleyball early on.
She joined the Texas A & M beach volleyball team in August, but before her freshman year was over she would receive an invitation to complete to play beach volleyball in the 2020 Summer Olympics.
“It was kind of a shock actually, I was really happy super happy,” said Poletti.
Poletti is a Paraguay native, and when her coach back home called asking if she would fill in for an injured player she did not hesitate to accept a chance to represent Paraguay in what is perhaps one of the largest stages in the world.
For TAMU-CC coach Gayle Stammer, it was an easy decision, yet a hard send off.
“How could I say no,” said Stammer. “I didn’t think it would hurt our program and how proud we would be to have this olympian on our team. It’s just too big it’s bigger than us.”
Poletti jumped on a plane to Peru to compete in her first South American match. But before getting to play the second qualifying game in Argentina, the unforeseen pandemic called the ultimate timeout.
“The coronavirus started coming to America, I was in a championship and I didn’t even know if I could come back to Paraguay,” said Poletti. “It was kind of a stressful time there.”
“I didn’t take it very well, but then I understood it was a chance to come back stronger.”
As of today, the Olympic summer games have been postponed to summer 2021; something Poletti says she’s ready for and believes her chances of still competing next year will be high.
“Always improving , getting the best of everything , keep learning, keep working hard,” said Poletti.
After all, the tease of competing on a global platform has only fueled her desire to one day represent her home country in the Olympics.