© Keita Yasukawa
More than anything, when I’m playing volleyball, I try to have no fear. To continue to play hard and not fear making mistakes, I always try to play with a smile on my face, staying positive at all times no matter what the situation. This is something I learned from my mother, who worked as a manager for the Youth National Team. I used to cry a lot as a child, and when I started volleyball at around age 11, I was so thin that my parents were worried about me just participating in a sport. But through volleyball I made myself strong both physically and mentally.
There was a line in a movie that made a big impression on me: “If you can’t run, then walk, if you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward”. Not just volleyball, but all sports involve winning and losing. If you lose once or fail once and put your head down, you won’t be able to move forward. This means focusing on giving it your all and not fearing the outcome. Having this attitude is extremely important.
What got me started in volleyball was watching my sister, who is one year older than me, play and thinking it was really cool. Though we do get into arguments sometimes, she is a good friend and a good teammate as well on the current National Team. Having someone right there to constantly share the ups and downs is a wonderful thing, and I’m grateful for it.
I was around sport a lot as I was growing up. It wasn’t just my sister; my brother also played baseball (and he’s currently a basketball player in our domestic league), and one of my uncles was a famous basketball player, although he didn’t live with us. I also have another uncle who was a boxer. In this sense, I have always been around sport.
But I think my approach to sport now has been very much influenced by my mother and father. I was daddy’s little girl growing up, so when my dad died, it was an extremely sad experience. When he was alive he gave me so much advice and his support kept me strong inside. My motivation for continuing to play volleyball today is my dad. My mother is of course my mother but she was also our team manager, and she raised me with a loving strictness. To be honest, she may have been stricter than anything else, but my desire and will to play with positivity are driven by my mother’s strictness that was combined with tolerance.
I’m actually a little forgetful and somewhat lazy, so I’ve really been helped by the presence of my family and the power of sport. I’ve learned the art of discipline and have been able to grow into a responsible human being.
© Atsushi Tomura/gettyimages
Friendship—I believe this is the most important thing in team sport because I’ve had the experience of both being successful and unsuccessful due to different degrees of bonding in a team. I believe that friendship and camaraderie are very closely connected to a team’s performance.
I haven’t been on the National Team very long, but I feel connected with all my teammates through a deep sense of friendship. I truly listen to what my teammates have to say, and if there’s something I think is necessary, even though I’m the youngest member, I don’t hold back, I say it clearly. This is possible because we have established a friendship.
I’ve been on the Junior and Youth Teams, and am now on the National Team. Representing one’s country is a big responsibility, and my sense of that responsibility continues to steadily grow. But I don’t really feel any pressure. More than anything I simply like playing volleyball. This is the foundation of myself as a volleyball player. There is no need to feel any pressure or to hold anything back.
© Keita Yasukawa
“To continue contributing as a member of the Dominican Republic National Team”
At the Rio Olympic Games next year and for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, I have high expectations for myself as an athlete. This is why I plan to continue to play without getting away from my foundation, which is to simply enjoy volleyball, the sport I love, and work hard to help make the team a success.
In the future, I don’t just want to play on the court but also figure out what I can do for the future of volleyball and the Dominican Republic, both of which I love. For example, volleyball has its share of rough play. I think in the future new rules will be needed to address this. In order to ensure that volleyball remains a fun sport not just for athletes but also for spectators, I do hope to help it develop into an even cleaner sport.
Further, in the Dominican Republic there is a strongly rooted belief that you can’t play volleyball unless you’re tall. I’m blessed to be 190 cm tall, but I’ve seen many athletes around the world play excellent volleyball without being very tall at all. The most important thing is having fun; becoming a top athlete or a professional athlete is not the point. I hope more and more people in my country will take up volleyball.
I’m still young, only 17 years old, so I don’t really know how to translate these thoughts into action, but I hope to grow into an adult who can shoulder these responsibilities in some form in the future while I grow as an athlete as well.
© Keita Yasukawa
Respecting others is something that I’m deeply committed to as a person. If you are nice to people, they will treat you nicely back as well. I believe that if you do the right thing, good things will happen eventually; it’ll come back to benefit you.
Applying these ways of thinking to sport means believing in your teammates, playing with a positive attitude and also working hard at practice and not slacking off. This produces good results as well.
Moreover, through my family and through volleyball and sport in general I have learned the importance of taking responsibility for your actions and following the rules. My awareness of my responsibilities has changed over time, and I think I will continue to change both as an athlete and as a Dominican.
I will move forward with a positive attitude, a smile and without fear. This is because I believe in doing so I will be able to continue to grow as a person.
Began volleyball at age 11 influenced by her sister Brayelin, who is a year older and also on the National Team (as of August 2015).
After competing in youth tournaments including the 2012 U18 NORCECA Championships, 2013 U18, U20 World Championships and 2014 U20 NORCECA Championships, recorded a team-high 14 points against the German National Team at the 2015 Montreux Volley Masters, making a stunning debut as a member of the Senior National Team.
Jineiry is currently a key player on the Youth National Team, and she is expected to further grow and develop as a member of the Senior National Team as well. At the FIVB Volleyball Word Cup held in Japan in August 2015, she participated as the youngest member of the team, playing middle blocker.