Lucerne, Switzerland, May 13, 2016 – He is only 20 years old, but Venezuela’s José ‘Tigrito’ Gomez already runs his own beach volleyball foundation. He wants other kids to live the same dream he is living, like playing at the FIVB Beach Volleyball U21 World Championships with his partner Rolando ‘Peter’ Hernandez this week in Lucerne.
“I grew up poor. The village I am from is poor as well. I remember when I was young all I wanted to do is play sports, but we didn’t have the money”, Tigrito explains.
“I want to help the children in my home town Torunos and now I am in the position to do so.” Two years ago, with the help of his family, the 2014 youth olympic silver medallist founded the Fundacion Deportiva José Tigrito Gomez.
He gets a little financial support from the Ministry of Sports and whenever he wins prize money he puts part of it into the foundation. Currently he has 70 kids under his wing from the age of 4 to 12 years old, who participate in the beach volleyball programme of the foundation.
“The main aim of this foundation is to help the children practice beach volleyball and to promote the sport. Because there’s no beach volleyball programme in Venezuela.”
“We provide balls, courts and coaches and together with the Ministry of Sports we are integrating school education into the sports programme.”
The beach volleyball school is located in Tigrito’s hometown Torunos in the western part of Venezuela. There are two courts and another 50 minutes away from there, are four more beach volleyball courts. The foundation has five coaches, who also travel to remote areas to scout for talent.
“I want to give the children the opportunity to practice beach volleyball. To give them the chance to be professional beach volleyball players. When I won second place in Nanjing, the children in my hometown all watched me on TV. Afterwards they all told me they wanted the same, so I started the foundation.”
“I just want to be a good person and help others. And to be one of the best beach volleyball players in the world. And learn English and be an engineer.”Quick linksFIVB Beach Volleyball U21 World Championships Lucerne 2016Men - Qualification resultsWomen - Qualification resultsMen - Main draw resultsWomen - Main draw results