Teqball World Champ Guitler: “Inspire Next Gen Female Stars” - ATR Extra

Athletes’ Committee chair one of sport’s biggest names; “women just as good as men”...

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Teqball mixed doubles World Champion Natalia Guitler has become one of the sport’s biggest global names over the past few years. The Instagram star, who has 1.8 million followers, hails from a futevolei (footvolley, a Brazilian sport) background, but has taken the teqball world by storm.

Natalia was a natural when she first came across teqball at Brazilian legend Ronaldinho’s house and quickly established herself as a force to be reckoned with. In 2019, Natalia and partner Marcos Vieira emerged as the inaugural mixed doubles World Champions, taking the medal home to Brazil after a dominant display during the 2019 Teqball World Championships in Budapest.

Off the court, Natalia is Chair of the FITEQ Athletes’ Committee, where she is playing a key role in growing the sport all over the world. She is a role model and an inspiration, particularly for young, aspiring female teqers. Reflecting on International Women’s Day earlier this month, Natalia shares her thoughts on how teqball, and sport in general, is providing opportunities for women to shine on the biggest stage.

1) The sports world celebrated International Women’s Day earlier this month. How important is this day for raising awareness of women’s sport?

Without a doubt it is very big! As a woman who is often in the public eye, it as a very important and essential day for the world to see how women can do anything they put their mind to, especially in the sports world. It was great to see how the teqball family, and many others sports clubs and organizations, joined the celebration.

2) As a leading athlete yourself, do you think the sports world is placing enough emphasis on gender equality?

I believe we are doing well, but we can always evolve and get more space! The sports world is working to improve this and I hope to get more and more soon. To achieve sport’s gender equality goals, everyone involved must keep focusing on the top of sport, with elite players, as well as at a local level with grassroots players. If we can provide a platform for female stars to inspire the next generation, and at the same time provide opportunities for young girls in their local community, then we will see amazing results!

3) Teqball is a sport where women and men can compete in the same categories. How do you think this impacts its efforts to be a gender equal sport?

I believe it helps as it sends a message to women and girls that they are just as skilled as men and can achieve incredible things in teqball. But even as champion of the mixed category myself, for which I feel very happy and honored, I would love for there to also be female only singles and doubles categories. This would give more opportunities for women to improve and grow in the sport, and it is another great way to show the strength and quality of women in elite competitions.

4) As FITEQ Athletes’ Committee Chair, how are you helping promote the values of equality and inclusivity throughout the sport?

Today we live in a pandemic, which has caused restrictions for all sports. However, FITEQ has been very innovative in finding solutions to keep teqball’s momentum going. I believe that with my influence, showing training and equality in what I do, it has already generated enough return that women feel more and more interested and motivated to play either with men or amongst women! It is a great feeling to see teqball growing so fast and knowing that I am part of that growth in some way!

5) Finally, as a role model for many women and girls, how are you using your global platform to inspire others?

I love to post my training videos, which show me practicing specific exercises. Everything I have done adds to teqball and I learn more every day! I hope to be successful at the 2021 Teqball World Championships and show the world once again what can be achieved through hard work. I would like to send a message to all women and girls aspiring to become teqball players, and that is to train and dedicate yourself to the sport. I have no doubt that if you give your best the result comes! Persistence is key!

Content presented by the International Teqball Federation