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Mariafe Artacho del Solar

Olympic athlete, Australian/Peruvian volleyball player

Beach Volleyball superstar and Olympian, Mariafe Artacho Del Solar is at the top of her game. Off the back of her gold medal win at the Australian Championships right here in Manly, we catch up with Mariafe to find out what's next.

Mariafe, congratulations on your win! How did it feel to win the championship in Manly 2017?

It’s always extra special winning at home, I love coming back to Manly and playing, and of course winning is the ultimate goal. Playing in front of friends and family is a very unique feeling that I love. Also, it was my 2nd consecutive Australian title too so it was a big one to win. I’m originally from Peru and moved to Sydney when I was 11. My beach volleyball career started in Manly, my brother signed me up for a 4-a-side social in and we won the event that summer. After that I said to myself ‘I love this! This is what I want to do with my life’.

On nutrition

Tell us about how you prepare for a big event? Do you change your diet at all?

I don’t really have a set routine, I listen to my body’s needs and fuel it in a nutritious and healthy way. If I’m feeling like pasta then I go for a healthy spaghetti bolognese with lots of veggies, if I need something lighter then I’ll just go for a protein and some veggies.

How important is the right nutrition in your recovery from a big game?

I think it’s critical, especially after every game you want to get your carbs in and recover to be able to back up and perform at 100% again. Beach volleyball is very physically and mentally demanding so recovery is very very important. What we put into our bodies is going to come out in the way you play; the better you fuel your body the better you’ll feel moving around the court.

You've achieved so much already in your career, what's the next goal for you?

My short term goal is to qualify for the World Champs in Vienna in July, then to qualify on the Gold coast for the Commonwealths in 2018, and then obviously, Tokyo in 2020.

What was it like competing in Rio?

It was epic, it was definitely an experience I wont forget. Beach volleyball was the number one sport in Rio, the arena was incredible. The whole thing was amazing, I learned so much being a part of it, on and off the court, what it takes to be a top athlete and Olympic medallist. I took so much out of it and it gave me so much motivation for when I came back to Australia.

You've achieved so much already in your career, what's the next goal for you?

My short term goal is to qualify for the World Champs in Vienna in July, then to qualify on the Gold coast for the Commonwealths in 2018, and then obviously, Tokyo in 2020.

How do you balance your training and 'normal' life?

My training takes all my time and volleyball is always my priority, but I do have some ‘normal’ time; I have a boyfriend in Queensland so we do the long-distance thing. Balance is really important, I have to make sure I’m physically, mentally and spiritually balanced – mind, body and spirit is critical. I put a lot of focus on sport. I love all sports and I do mix it up, I sometimes play a quick game of tennis or going for a walk on beach is my favourite thing to do.

I like everything, I love all the fresh salads. My favourites are the brown rice, sweet potato and spinach salads, I love the hot foods too, the chicken patties and lentil burgers! It’s so fresh and delicious and it fills you up, it’s nutritious and you just feel so good after.

Any advice for readers wanting to play volleyball?

Manly is the best place to start, unfortunately it’s the only beach with nets so head to Manly, there’s always people playing there. It’s such a good sport to get involved in, it keeps you fit, it’s really social and it’s just so much fun. It doesn’t hurt when you dive and culture is really high energy, you’ll have a lot of fun so get involved!
Social

Age: 23

Occupation: Pro athlete

Sporting hero: Roger Federer – he’s just the whole package, so professional and such a gentleman.

 

Top 3 training tips:

1. Enjoy what you do, make sure you’re happy and have fun

2. You are what you eat, so it’s essential to fuel yourself properly

3. Set yourself goal and don’t stop until you get it, don’t let anything get in the way of your dreams.

 

If you want to follow Mariafe’s journey then check out her Instagram.

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