2017-10-04 14:25:00 CET

Alvaro is the people’s champ

After a first year with rising star Saymon, Alvaro Filho ended the season as the Sportsman of the Year

Alvaro in typical defensive action at the Fort Lauderdale MajorAlvaro in typical defensive action at the Fort Lauderdale Major

At the age of 26, Brazilian Alvaro Filho joined a very selective club in beach volleyball as he became only the seventh player to collect the Sportsman of the Year awarc since the FIVB began the process in 2005.

The Joao Pessoa-native was chosen by players, coaches, referees and FIVB officials to join fellow Brazilians Emanuel Rego, Franco Neto and Bruno Schmidt, Estonia’s Rivo Vesik, USA’s Phil Dalhausser and Latvia’s Janis Smedins in the hall of winners of the award.

“I was actually very surprised and happy when I knew it,” says Alvaro. “I didn’t think that I could win it, but I always try to do what I think is right and maybe that’s why people voted for me.

“The most important thing to me is to be in peace with my consciousness and each decision I make is based on this principle. That’s priceless to me.”

Known in the World Tour a class-act, Alvaro had the opportunity to learn from the best as he was a training partner of the legendary Emanuel, a five-time Sportsman of the Year, and Ricardo Santos at the start of his career when the Brazilians lived in Joao Pessoa.

“Their team had a huge influence in my career,” explains Alvaro, who won the silver medal of the 2013 World Championship playing with Ricardo. “It was the best team ever in my opinion and I tried to learn as much as I could from them, not only as players but also as the good people they are.”

Alvaro celebrates with Saymon after winning gold at the Fort Lauderdale Major last FebruaryAlvaro celebrates with Saymon after winning gold at the Fort Lauderdale Major last February

The Sportsman of the Year award had a lot to with the values athletes follow and Alvaro, who with rising star Saymon Barbosa won 2016’s opening Major in Fort Lauderdale, is not shy in recognizing the people who had big influence in the process of building his character.

“An award like this also has a lot to do with the values you carry with you,” he says. “So I have to thank my parents, who created me and educated me. I am a reflex of the people they are. And also to my coaches, who disciplined me in my career.”

The award was particularly welcomed by Alvaro because of the controversial political moment Brazil is living through. For the player, having a Brazilian winning such a distinct prize can provide his country mates the good references they need.

“It means a lot for me that a Brazilian won this award,” he says. “Our country is going through a very tough moment in what regards the character of our leaders and it’s great that the sport can provide a good example on this matter.

“I’m very competitive and people sometimes confuse competitiveness by dishonesty. And it’s not like that. You can be competitive and honest at the same time.”

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