Peruvian Cecilia Roxana Tait Villacorta shares her journey as a player and Congressperson
The FIVB spoke with one of our new members of the FIVB Board of Administration, Cecilia Roxana Tait Villacorta from Peru, to learn more about her journey to securing this prestigious position on the International Federation.
1. Dear Mrs Tait, you have been a member of the FIVB Board of Administration for just under a year. Please could you share your experience so far and the work you have done? What does the role mean for you?
For a three-time Olympian and a silver Olympic medallist in Seoul 1988, it is a great honour and privilege to become a member of the FIVB Board of Administration. It is also a big responsibility and an important challenge. I am new to the job but I am fully committed to represent the global Volleyball family on the Board and to promote the principles of good governance, inclusivity and gender equality in my new role.
2. You have a strong background in indoor volleyball, can you tell us more about your playing career?
Absolutely, these were twelve wonderful years of voluntary sacrifice and absolute dedication as a national volleyball team player of Peru. All the efforts were well paid off after Peru finally secured a podium spot and claimed silver at the Olympic Games Seoul 1988. That result came after the sixth place at Moscow 1980 and forth place at Los Angeles 1984.
I was also honoured to represent Peru at some other international and Continental volleyball events, including the World Championship. In 1982 in Peru, we claimed silver at the FIVB Volleyball World Championship and I was named as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the tournament. This was an incredible achievement for me.
Volleyball has always been and continues to be my passion and if I were to be born again, I would want to be a volleyball player again. And now I am glad to be serving our beloved sport off the court as well.
3. You won many titles across a number of prestigious events during your career. How do you feel about more and more former players joining the FIVB Board of Administration?
For us former players it is a reward for all our efforts and dedication on the court and a new responsibility off the court to continue working for the benefit of the global Volleyball family. Because without the players there is no sport, no show and without the Board of Administration there would be no innovation and improvement of the sport. These days, volleyball is much more than just a competitive sport, it is a show and this is the philosophy that the FIVB Board of Administration under the leadership of the FIVB President, Dr Ary Graça is implementing across a number of events. Also, huge efforts are currently invested into digital, and this is where we as former players can further assist with attracting new followers and being role models for young generations of volleyball fans.
4. What other experience do you have that you believe will be useful to you in your role as a member of the FIVB Board of Administration?
For more than ten years I was a Congressperson in the Congress of Peru. I supported several bills approved by the Congress that expanded sports programmes for both the country's most talented athletes and poor school children.
I also have a commission of volleyball veterans that coordinates with all the volleyball federations and associations in the world support to the players with medical insurance, to ensure they have a grace pension after the end of their career. In poor countries like mine many retired athletes are in poor physical condition without any financial support.
5. As a female leader and a player, you will have seen first-hand many of the challenges around gender equality in sport. What are your thoughts on the work FIVB is doing to positively address gender equality?
Gender equality is very important in life and of course in sports. In volleyball gender equality is part of our DNA as our sport both men’s and women’s is equally developed and have huge popularity among boys and girls alike.
I am glad with the direction the FIVB takes in regards to gender equality with the prize money being the same for men’s and women’s events and the other activities the International Federation does to promote the topic.
As a female leader and a player, I have been standing for gender equality throughout my career. I am honoured that my efforts in this field were noted by the International Olympic Committee that in 2003 awarded me with the Women and Sport Achievement Diploma in recognition of the outstanding contribution in promoting the development and participation of women and girls in sport as well as with the Pierre de Coubertin Medal.