San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Women's volleyball team spikes ahead but struggles to net funds

The Costa Rican Women´s National Volleyball Team sailed passed Mexico and Trinidad and Tobago to qualify for the world championship in August.

But due to lack of funds, they´re not sure they can go.

The team of 12 women is waiting for the Costa Rican Institute for Sports and Recreation (ICODER) to determine if they´ll be able to fly to Japan in October of next year.

“We are launching a great effort,” said William Corrales, president of the Costa Rican Federation for Volleyball. “It´s a great honor. We have some of the best players in the world and it would be a shame if we couldn´t go.”

This is the second time Costa Rica has qualified for the championship. While they mustered enough money to go the first time, because of the financial crunch and the economic slowdown it´s not clear whether the country will be able to send them this year. 

For Osvaldo Pandolfo, vice minister of sports, finding money for international competitions is a chronic problem.

“There is never enough money,” he told The Tico Times. “It´s one of the struggles we´ve always had.”

ICODER supports 32 sports federations in Costa Rica and hasn´t received more than a half-million dollars from the government to support them.

He said individual competitors are the ones who most often find themselves staying at home because they can´t find the money to compete.

Soccer is a different story. Through ticket sales and private money, national soccer teams are self-sustaining and can usually be jetted to Washington, D.C. or Egypt to compete in international competitions.

“Soccer sells here,” Pandolfo said. “It´s backed by a nationwide passion so they´ve been able to facilitate financing.”

Pandolfo hopes that a bill sitting in the legislative assembly – aimed at increasing government allocations and creating a sports ministry – will help overcome the perpetual shortage of funds.

“We are fighting for more resources,” he said. “Not just for international competition, but also for recreation.”

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