Edmonton, Canada, July 19, 2019 – Most beach volleyball players competing at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour had already established their careers when they turned 29, but that wasn’t the case for Brazilian Josi Alves.
The veteran defender didn’t start competing professionally at the Brazilian Tour until 2009, when she was 29 and had already gotten her college degree, and it took her another six years to jump in international competition.
Now, at 40, she’s one of just five women to compete at the 2018-2019 season being 40 or older alongside American Kerri Walsh Jennings (40), Scottish Melissa Coutts (48) and Japanese Shinako Tanaka (43) and Keito Urata (41).
“It’s a challenge because I need to give up on a lot of things to be here,” the Brazilian said. “I’m extremely disciplined with my body and my habits to be in good shape to play. I go to bed early every night and I pay a lot of attention to anything I eat or drink to make sure it won’t impact my performance. I think all of that and the fact that I’ve been very lucky to never have an injury help me to remain in good shape.”
That’s when Josi’s late start certainly doesn’t hurt her as unlike most of the veterans competing internationally at the highest level she doesn’t have a lot of miles on her body just yet. Since she first appeared in the World Tour, in an event in Rio de Janeiro, in 2015, with Val Leao, Josi has featured in 32 events with four different partners.
The most memorable ones for her have been a fifth-place finish at the 2016 Porec Major with Fernanda Berti and back-to-back two-star events in Nantong and Nanjing, China, which she won with Liliane Maestrini in 2018.
“That tournament in Porec was amazing, it was probably the biggest one I’ve ever played it,” Josi reflected. “And we were playing really well all week, we lost Sarah Pavan and Heather Bansley (of Canada) in a very close three-set match and didn’t make it to the semifinals. And, of course, the two gold medals I won with Lili in China last year were very special too.”
Josi and Juliana are playing together for the second time this week in Edmonton
Those gold medals, however, preceded an end to that partnership as Lili decided to take some time off the sport to start her family a few months later. But as one door closes, another one opens and that was the case for Josi as well.
Right now, she’s paired with the legendary Juliana Felisberta, a London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist, 2011 world champion and eight-time World Tour winner, as the duo is sharing the courts for just the second time at the three-star Edmonton Open this week.
“It’s an honor to play with her, I used to watch her on TV and to cheer for her before I started my career,” Josi stated. “So, to be here sharing the court with her, it’s incredible. She’s got an amazing career, is an Olympic medallist and one of the winningest players in the World Tour. And I love her playing style. She’s always talking to me and sharing something. I feel its makes both of us better.”
At 40, Josi is probably closer to the end of her career than to its start, but that doesn’t stop her from making plans. After all, if she got to earn a spot in the World Tour as a rookie at the age of 35, it’s probably never too late to anything else.
“Beach volleyball is not just my job, it’s my lifestyle, and I want to keep playing for some more years”, she added. “This year we’d have loved to be competing for an Olympic berth but unfortunately we decided to join forces a little too late. Hopefully we can play in more events next year and be among the best, that’s what we have in mind.”