Colombia’s tennis dream is big enough for two
Camila Osorio and Nicolas Mejia will be protagonists of the tennis tournament at Buenos Aires 2018. Both are among the top 10 in the International Tennis Federation world ranking and they’re marked as favourites for the competition that will be held in the iconic Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club.
While she was born in Cucuta, Colombia on December 22, 2001 and he in Bogota on February 11, 2000, they are in the top 10 of the ITF ranking. Both Nicolas and Camila are in sixth place, a confirmation of how well they’ve been doing lately.
“To be in the Youth Olympic Games is a dream for me,” explained Camila, who won five international tournaments this year: the Copa del Café in Costa Rica, the Copa Barranquilla, the Asuncion Bowl, the Banana Bowl and the Copa Paineiras in Brazil. The last four on that list were played on a clay court, the same surface that will be used at the Youth Olympic Games. For his part, this year Nicolas won the Prince George Country International Junior Tennis Championship and the Asuncion Bowl.
“The Youth Olympic Games are a great opportunity for me and, what’s more, a new experience where I’ll be representing Colombia. It’s going to be a wonderful experience,” he said.
Mejia has lots of memories when it comes to representing his country. “I was at the South American Youth Games in Santiago, Chile and I’ve been thinking about Buenos Aires 2018 for a long time,” said the young athlete who finished third in singles in Santiago last year. “I’ve heard that it’s very well organised. I’ve seen videos of the Youth Olympic Village and I was impressed at how serious and professional these Games will be,” he said.
For Osorio, who is coached by legendary Colombian player Alejandro Falla, the chance to compete in the Argentine capital reminds her of past experiences in the country. “I was in Buenos Aires playing the U14 South American qualifier for the World Championship, but to play in a stadium where the greatest Argentine players have played, as well as other big stars from around the world is like an incredible dream, we’re really privileged,” said the tennis player who took home the gold medal at the South American Youth Games last year.
What are Osorio’s and Mejia’s goals for their first Olympic experience? Both feel the same way. “Together with my team we have it as one of the main tournaments this year. We are working for that and we paid a lot of attention to logistics,” said Mejia. “The Youth Olympic Games are very important for tennis. And the truth is that to be wearing the Colombian jersey is always extra motivation. It’s an honour to play this kind of tournament. To be a Youth Olympic champion or win a Grand Slam has almost the same level of importance. I hope I can bring back a medal for my country and hopefully it will be gold,” he added. Osorio’s has a similar dream: “I’m training a lot to give my best for my country. The goal now is to represent Colombia well and my dream is to bring back a medal - all the better if it’s gold,” she said.
Colombia’s tennis dream is big enough for two. And the country has a gold medal history that allows Camila Osorio and Nicolas Mejia to think big: Juan Sebastian Gomez triumphed at Singapore 2010, the first edition of the Youth Olympic Games. Will one of them be able to do the same?