Lausanne, Switzerland, January 22, 2019 – The first FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour tournament in 2019 crowned Brazilians Ana Patricia Silva and Rebecca Cavalcanti as they topped the podium at the 4 -Star Dela Beach Open in The Hague, the Netherlands, in the first week of January.
The title at the Dutch coastal city, however, was just another step the young Brazilians took on the international scene after they won gold at the three-start tournament in Qinzhou and silver at the four-star event in Yangzhou last October.
“We’re very confident that 2019 will be our year,” the 25-year-old Rebecca said. “It was great to start the year with a gold medal. It rewards our hard work, we barely took time off at the end of 2018 and it’s amazing to see our sacrifice paying off.”
The duo, which is coached by the veteran Reis Castro, who led the teams of Larissa Franca/Juliana Felisberta and Talita Antunes/Larissa to a number of medals in the World Tour, is definitely on the rise, but it wasn’t always like that.
Rebecca Cavalcanti (left) with coach Reis Castro
The Brazilians failed to advance from qualifiers in three of the four events they competed at during the 2017-2018 season and understood they needed to take a step back and return to Brazil until they were ready to compete among the best in the world.
“We couldn’t play in some tournaments and that hurt us,” Ana Patricia, 20, added. “But we returned home knowing that we needed to improve, we worked for it and came back stronger. It was a tough moment, but a very important one, because it was when we could really see what our weaknesses were.”
The recent results have put Rebecca and Ana Patricia in a good place to compete for a coveted spot at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics as the Brazilians are currently at the top of the provisional Olympic ranking, with 2,680 points.
Even though countries can qualify a maximum of two teams and Brazil has some experienced tandems, such as Agatha Bednarczuk/Duda Lisboa, Fernanda Alves/Barbara Seixas, Maria Elisa Antonelli/Carolina Salgado and Talita Antunes/Taiana Lima, Ana Patricia believe they can make it.
“It’s the greatest dream of every athlete,” she said. “We got some important points and we want to fight for it. We know it’s going to be tough because Brazil has great teams, which are extremely consistent, but as long as we have a chance, we’ll fight with all we have.”