top of page

December 8, 2022

The Thriving Power of Pickleball in Mexico—Women

By Javier Regalado

President, LPPM

Belem Garcia, Mariana Fortes, Leandra from Brazil, Andrea Arochi, and Natalia from Brazil
From left: Belem Garcia, Mariana Fortes, Leandra from Brazil, Andrea Arochi, and Natalia from Brazil.

Everywhere I travel around the pickleball world, I find that the heart and soul of the game are the women of pickleball. It is the main reason that pickleball is such a “human sport.” Women bring the good and tender side of the game. They not only play and organize extraordinarily, but they are the main force behind the volunteer and entrepreneur community of the sport.


I have found great women all over Mexico who are the thriving power behind the game. Aline Morales from Ixtapa and Georgette Ochoa from Los Barriles are two magnificent 11-year-old players who will certainly be top international players. They work and practice very hard and show tremendous discipline in their lives. Behind them are their incredible mothers who support them and travel with them for financial and emotional support.


Sammy Cota is also an amazing woman who teaches pickleball in Los Barriles to kids with limited resources and helps them stay off the street. Sally Bland and Gladys Jure are tenacious entrepreneurs investing and fighting hard to make pickleball grow in Los Barriles and Mexico City respectively. Sally and her husband, Paul, are the founders and owners of the beautiful Tres Palapas Pickleball Resort. Tania Reyes from Pickleball Barra de Navidad at Hotel Cabo Blanco is also a thriving power along with her husband, Kike Casillas, in promoting pickleball in the zone.


What can I say about Belem Garcia and Mariana Fortes, Mexico National Champions, who are great ambassadors of the game and role models to all players. They have fought great battles for equal payment and treatment for women. Also worth mentioning are Dalhia Garcia and Clarett Prat, who are great competitors from Guaymas, Mexico.


Celina Lopez from Las Vegas, Nevada, who is a USAP certified referee and has traveled down to Mexico helping to develop referees, is a great promoter of Mexico Pickleball in the U.S.


Andrea Arochi, who I had the honor of playing mixed doubles with and is a TV commentator, has become one of the great promoters of the sport in Mexico.


Alejandra Gomez has built a great community of people over age 60 in Guadalajara, and through pickleball she has brought them a new family and a new reason for excitement.


I want to make a special mention of a very special group of women who without their support we could not be doing what we are trying to accomplish. These are our wives. My wife, Gaby, is my source of energy, ideas and love that is required to achieve whatever we are trying to accomplish. I want to also thank and mention other team members’ wives, Bonnie, Marina, Au, Graciela, and Dolores, and the women of my team: Natalia, Paulette, Angelica, Fernanda, and Amalia. All women of exceptionally great talents and leadership.


My admiration goes to Jen Ramamurthy from PB Australia, Karen Rust from PB Canada and Lenka Misickova from PB Czech Republic whom I’ve had the honor of working together with in building a new global federation. Certainly, they are the thriving power behind the unification process.


Finally, I want to thank Smiley Riley and Danae Bass, pickleball social media influencers, whose energy and happiness made our Los Cabos Open tournament such a fun event. Also, Julie Talerico, editorial director of this amazing magazine, who has supported me in writing this column.


Obviously, there are many other women I have not mentioned—players, volunteers, entrepreneurs, wives, and leaders. If I have left you out, my apologies, but I know you are out there changing the face of communities and families, and certainly making this world a better place. You are the thriving power of pickleball, not only in Mexico, but the whole world! •


Email me at

Aline Morales with her mom, Miriam
Aline Morales with her mom, Miriam.

bottom of page