2018-09-27 10:00:00 CET
The Brazilian Olympic medalist is a role model on the World Tour – and that's official!
Ágatha Bednarcuzk has been playing in the World Tour since 2005 and despite of the several accolades earned during her beach volleyball career, including the silver medal in the Rio 2016 Olympics and the world title in 2015, there was something she still missed.
One of the best representations of a true team player in the Tour, the 35-year-old Brazilian waited for 14 seasons to finally be recognized with an end-of-season individual award.
Her patience paid off, though, as the blocker earned not one but two trophies and arguably the most special of them as she was selected as both the Most Inspirational Player and the Sportswoman of Year.
“I had never won any individual awards before and it feels so special to have won right these two now,” the Brazilian veteran said. “To be considered someone who inspires other players is just amazing and I take real pride of it.”
It’s hard not to be infected by Ágatha’s energy on or off the sand. Always in a good mood, the Brazilian Olympic medalist is one of those people who can change anyone’s day with a simple smile or some kind words.
The combination of her good energy, her passion for the game and the utmost respect she has for everyone involved with the sport, including her opponents, is what makes of her one of the most beloved players in the Tour.
After all, she’s normally the first to suggest funny photos on the podium or to start a dance in the court after a victory.
“During my entire career, I always tried to build a positive relationship with the other players, the officials, everyone,” she explained. “It’s really hard to be an elite athlete, we need to give up on a lot of things and that’s why anytime I step in to the podium I try to not only enjoy the most myself, but also make the younger athletes understand that they should do the same because those are the moments when we feel like everything pays off.”
Inspiring the entire Tour, however, might just have been a consequence of what Ágatha tries to do every single day on her routine. Playing since 2017 with Duda Lisboa, who’s 15 years younger than her, the Brazilian understands her role in the team and how she needs to be a role model for her talented young partner.
The strategy seems to be working just fine as the team just finished its second season together with the gold medal of the World Tour Finals around their necks, the top spot in the world rankings and the Most Outstanding Player, Best Hitter and Best Offensive Players awards all going Duda's way.
“I knew that playing with Duda would be completely different from what I had before,” Ágatha added. “And I needed to reinvent myself for that. I feel I’m still improving as an athlete and I’ve been trying to keep my mind as open as possible since we started playing together.
“I understand my role with the team and how I need to support her. Of course there are moments we struggle, but I never doubted our team and that makes this moment very special. I’m giving everything I have for our team and to have a season like this is absolutely rewarding. The only way for us is to give everything we have.”