2018-11-27 17:01:00 CEST
The 1.94m-tall Ana Patricia Ramos could be the next force coming out of the beach volleyball powerhouse
The final events of the 2018 Beach Volleyball World Tour season presented to the world a player that could become a force in the sport in years to come.
Standing at 1.94m, Ana Patricia Ramos, who recently celebrated her 20th birthday, is the tallest Brazilian player to ever compete internationally – and she turned some heads with her recent good results.
Partnering with 25-year-old Rebecca Cavalcanti, Ana Patricia, who had played in just four World Tour events before the start of the season, claimed gold at three-star tournament in Qinzhou and silver the following week at the four-star event in Yangzhou. The duo was close to earning its third consecutive medal in Las Vegas, but Ana Patricia twisted her ankle in the bronze medal match against fellow Brazilians Maria Elisa Antonelli and Carol Solberg and was forced to forfeit the match.
“I actually consider 2018 as my first year in the Tour,” Ana Patricia told beachmajorseries.com. “I didn’t have many opportunities to compete before and this season Rebecca and I managed not only to play, but also to be among the best, which was great. But we still need to improve in several areas, and not only on the court, but also on how we see things and on how we prepare to tournaments.”
Her first promising international results happened as pretty much everything in her brief beach volleyball career so far – in the blink of an eye. In 2013, Ana Patricia played handball for her school when she was scouted and was invited to play beach volleyball.
Just one year later, she was at the top of the podium at the Youth Olympics in Nanjing with Duda Lisboa. The duo has also won a pair of Under-21 World Championship titles in 2016 and 2017.
“Beach volleyball has always been the love of my life and I didn’t know exactly how at the time, but I always believed it would make me very happy,” she explained. “I think my passion for the sport helped me to work hard and develop quickly, but I was also very fortunate to meet people who think the same way I do and these people encouraged me a lot to pursue my goals and my dreams.”
But as in the trajectory of any professional athlete, there were also setbacks. After failing to advance from the country-quota at the Fort Lauderdale Major in February, Ana Patricia and Rebecca didn’t show up at a World Tour event until July.
The team had a decent ninth-place finish in Espinho, but didn’t make through qualification at the Gstaad Major. Then, they concluded, it was time to put their heads down, lick their wounds and work twice as hard.
“My biggest takeaway from this season was that there’s the right time for everything and all we got to do is keep working and being patient,” the blocker stated. “We couldn’t play in some tournaments and that hurt us. 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. It was very exciting to see that we could return and achieve some good results, but there’s still a lot we need to improve and we’re really looking forward to explore this new world better.”
And the good results in China have put Ana Patricia and Rebecca and in position to dream about something bigger. The team is currently the third-placed in the Olympic ranking and, even though the bulk of the qualification process will take place between 2019 and 2020, the young Brazilians have started ahead of their competitors.
“I always told my mom I would be an athlete and now I am living the big dream of my life,” she added. “I still have a lot of goals, from simple to extraordinary ones. Right now, I want to qualify to the Olympics. It’s the greatest dream of every athlete. 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. And if it doesn’t work now, I try again in four years.”
Ana Patricia definitely still has several years ahead of her, but she is not willing to make of her age an excuse for not being competitive right now. When she looks at Duda, with who she won several age-group titles, and sees the Word Tour’s Most Outstanding Player, she realized the sky is the limit for her.
“There are several players at the same age of us competing out there,” she commented. “I was very happy when Duda won the Most Outstanding Player award and it just strengthened my belief that it’s possible to compete among the best regardless of your age. You just have to work for it.”
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