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Feature article: Jose Martinez-Rebollar Olympic Volleyballer

Image: Matt McLennan

Situated front and centre, a vision in the navy and white Melbourne University jersey is Jose Martinez-Rebollar. The epitome of athleticism and passion, standing a head taller than the rest of the court, this gentle giant only three years ago represented Mexico at the 2016 Olympic games in Rio. Along with the rest of his team, Jose is committed to competing at the UniSport Nationals Div 1 volleyball competition, held at the Gold Coast Sports and Leisure Centre. Middle blocker, Martinez is currently undertaking a Masters in Art and Cultural Management.

I was lucky enough to catch up with Jose before the game for a chat. Jose shed some light on the balancing act between being an elite athlete and pursuing an academic career. With unrelenting passion in his eyes, Jose recounted what he loves most about his sport in one simple sentence “the competitiveness and how complete it is”. Interested to delve into the difference between the Olympics and Div 1, Jose explained that “at the Olympics you have professional athletes. At Div 1 you have not only athletes but academics as well. I think that’s good!”

The gifted player, reaffirms confidently how volleyball continues to enhance his university experience through “both athletics and academics mixed together and the experience of meeting people and the importance of good time management”. In the coming days of the volleyball UniSport competition, Jose is most exhilarated about “Winning. This is the first city I’ve been outside Melbourne, getting to know other parts as well as getting to know my peers and just having good volley ball”. Jose concludes that “overall I’m going to have a good time and hopefully we will keep on winning!”

I sat down with Jose to chat all things Volleyball, Olympics and Nationals Div 1.

what is your name and what are you currently studying: Jose Manuel Martinez, study at the university of Melbourne doing a master on arts and cultural management.

What would you say you are like as a student: this time because I’m here I’m a masters student so I’ve set the bar a bit higher for this time from the end of my bachelor so I’ve always turned in my stuff on time during my bachelor time back home i think that I’ve kind of always used that doing sport as an excuse while now i think I’ve been putting school first and then everything else, so volleyball is always going to be an important part of my life it keeps me healthy and gets me to know people, gets me to go around but I’m here to do my academics so i think I’m putting number one on my list as academics and then everything else.

What is it that you love most about your sport: the competitiveness and how complete it is because i think other sports or individual sports you depend on yourself or you can depend on certain individual that has an outstanding skill while in volleyball you really need to have understanding and good players overall because you need someone to touch the ball before you touch it, so i think that understanding and that certain skill level that you need with the other people i think that’s very demanding and i think that’s a very good part of it.

what is it like competing at uni sport nationals, having competed at the Olympics in 2016: over there you have professional athletes that dedicate their time and doing their specific sport all year long so you know that’s going to be the best of the best while here i think you have a differing kind of people, people that are trying to get better and trying to improve the conditions of the world, people, that are studying, people that are not only athletes but academics, people that are just doing so much that’s a pretty good group of people that are mixing both academics and work i think its very respectable to be mixing all of those aspects together so i think that’s good.

What do you most look forward to when competing at the uni sport nationals competition: probably winning, getting to know my teammates better cause we have only been together a couple of weeks now, but overall i think just building this trust of the group, most of the guys are probably going to be competing again next year, so probably be competing again next year. this is the first city I’ve been outside Melbourne since i got here, so just getting to know other parts, getting to know better my peers and just having good volley ball.

How has playing volleyball bettered your university experience: coming from another country and not knowing anyone in this side of the world going into an activity i know which is standard across the world meeting/getting to know the people around there i think its been pretty good its always goof to have good time management so that’s also pretty good having both athletics and academics mixed together so a mix between those and the experience of meeting people from around its been pretty good.

Anything else you would like to add: overall this is barely the second day, the teams are pretty good, the team uniforms are also pretty cool overall, probably going to have a good time and hopefully we will keep on winning, overall its been pretty good

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