Jun 11, 2024

It’s Jorge Luis Alayo’s birthday. He turned 23 on June 6th, and the news is waking up flooded with his name. His, and that of his adventure companion in the sand, Noslen Díaz.” They’re Olympians; they’ll be in Paris.

The feat was confirmed after the Cubans finished second in the Challenge-level tournament held last week in Poland. In this way, they increased their total to seven thousand eight hundred (7,800) points to solidify their position in the qualifying zone, a figure that ended up being unreachable for their closest pursuers.

This, although we already had some notions, was confirmed in the last hours with the outcomes of the matches in the elite 16 knockout tournament in Ostrava, Czech Republic, of the World Tour Pro. At this hour, the accounts are clear and irreversible.

The Olympic beach volleyball qualifying ranking closed on Sunday the 9th, and the official list of pairs will be announced this Monday.


The Olympic qualification of Alayo and Díaz seemed impossible. They started the year ranked 33rd in the world rankings, not even appearing in the Olympic ranking. However, thanks to a series of impressive performances in the World Tour, they managed to climb to 17th place, securing their spot in the Olympic Games.

The duo began their journey in Doha, Qatar, where they placed ninth. Their ascent continued with the conquest of three silver medals in Recife and Saquarema (Brazil) and in Stare Jablonki (Poland), as well as a fourth place in Guadalajara (Mexico) and a bronze in Tepic (Mexico), the highest level of the World Tour. These results allowed them to accumulate the necessary points to position themselves in the ticket zone for France.

The volleyball players Jorge Alaya and Noslen Díaz, who secured second place in the 2024 Pro Tour. (Credit: NORCECA)

The qualification was secured thanks to the results of their main rivals in the elite 16 knockout tournament in Ostrava, Czech Republic. The Austrians Julian Hörl and Alexander Horst, as well as the Chileans Marcos and Esteban Grimalt, were eliminated by the Dutch pairs León Luini and Christian Varenhorts. This ensured that Alayo and Díaz became unreachable, thus sealing their ticket to Paris 2024.


Noslen is happy. At 21 years old, the dream has come true.

“Reaching the Olympic ticket has been seeing how the work done since I was 12 or 13 years old makes complete sense. It’s the ultimate…” – he tells us in an attempt to characterize the emotions that overwhelm him.

“Saying today that we are Olympians, and that we will be in Paris, is the greatest thing we have achieved in life. It’s what I have worked for all this time,… not just me, but also my family, my partner, the coaches, and it’s a huge achievement.”

In Paris, we’re going to give it our all, but above all, we’re going to enjoy it, we’re going to live it to the fullest.


“It still seems unbelievable to me that they achieved four consecutive semifinals in the World Tour Pro, no other team has accomplished it, they have earned the admiration of their people and the respect of players from other countries, who applaud them and everyone loves them, they are invited to train and to conduct training camps.” – Francisco “Francis” Álvarez Cutiño reflects, who has guided Alayo and Díaz in an interview published by the Cuban specialized site JIT.

Álvarez Cutiño, who has built an illustrious career as a player and coach, has been a fundamental pillar in the development of beach volleyball in Cuba. His experience and leadership have been crucial in the process of Alayo and Díaz, but he does not hesitate to show his pride and satisfaction for the achievement of his pupils.

This is the result of seriousness, sacrifice, desire, believing that we can, and fighting to open the door to qualification. Many people’s hard work at the National School has been required for these results.“- he concluded.


Cuba returns to beach volleyball at the Olympic Games. Alayo and Díaz will be the third pair to participate in the men’s tournament, since beach volleyball was officially introduced at Atlanta 1996. Antes habían alcanzado cupos los binomios de Francisco Álvarez Cutiño –Juan Rossell Milanés (Atlanta 1996 y Atenas 2004) y Nivaldo DíazSergio González (Río 2016). These last ones secured a fifth place, which is the best position for representatives from this land.

Just a few days ago, Jorge Luis Alayo declared to Diario Granma that his wish was: “To have the news of winning the ticket to Paris 2024 on my birthday is the best gift I could receive” – and, well, there it is.

With Alayo and Díaz, Cuban beach volleyball is heading to Paris.

Happy birthday.

Written by Lilyan Cid


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