Volleyball (vóleibol or vóley in Spanish) is the second most popular sport in Peru after soccer, which dominates the nation’s sporting psyche despite the national team’s lack of success.
While soccer is a male dominated sport in many respects, volleyball is traditionally a female sport. The women’s national team is a major player on the international scene; at a recreational level, the game is played by women of all ages with comparatively few male participants.
Peruvian National Volleyball Teams
Peru’s women's national volleyball team reached its peak in the 1980s, finishing the decade with a silver medal at the 1988 Summer Olympics in South Korea. Members of the 1988 Olympic team remain popular figures today, including Natalia Málaga, Gabriela Pérez del Solar and Cecilia Tait. Tait, who began a political career after retiring from the game, is often considered one of the greatest female athletes in Peruvian sporting history.
The women’s national team has failed to reach such heights since the beginning of the 1990s, but remains a force on the world stage. As of July 2012, the Peruvian team is ranked seventeenth in the FIVB Senior World Rankings. The team failed to qualify for the 2012 Olympics in London.
Peru’s men’s national volleyball team has never gained any traction at the international level. The team’s greatest achievement was a bronze medal in the first ever South American Championship back in 1951. Unlike Peru’s women, the men’s team remains a minor challenger in South America and a minnow in international competition. As of July 2012, the men’s national team is ranked 123rd in the FIVB Senior World Rankings.
Club Volleyball in Peru
The Liga Nacional Superior de Vóleibol (LNSV) is Peru’s top level volleyball competition. Organized by the Federación Peruana de Vóleibol, it features both a women’s competition and a men’s competition (featuring twelve teams and nine teams respectively). Winners of the Liga Nacional qualify to compete in the annual South American Volleyball Club Championship.