26.01.2020 - Vienna, Austria
Selected by the Brazilian Volleyball Federation as one of the teams that will represent the country in this year’s Olympics, Ana Patrícia Ramos and Rebecca Cavalcanti started 2020 in great shape as they topped the podium of the first Brazilian Tour event of the year, in João Pessoa.
The bronze medalists of last year’s Gstaad Major, the 26-year-old Rebecca and the 22-year-old Ana Patrícia benefited from their chemistry to defeated one of Brazil’s newest teams, the one of Talita Antunes and Carol Salgado, in the three-set (21-19, 19-21, 15-8) gold medal match in João Pessoa.
“This is the most important year of our careers and to start it with a gold medal around our necks, it just gives us more motivation to keep working and preparing the best we can,” Ana Patrícia explained. “Our focus in on improving as a team so we can get to Tokyo in the best possible form, but to win the first tournament of the year is special. I’ve been struggling with some pain in my back, but Rebecca helped me a lot and took the game over.”
Other recently-formed duo, the one of Taiana Lima and Fernanda Berti, secured bronze following a 21-19, 21-17 triumph over veterans Juliana Felisberta and Josi Alves.
The men’s tournament saw a João Pessoa-native, 23-year-old George Wanderley, step at the top of the podium as 2017 world champion Andre Loyola and him ended in the right side of the three-set (14-21, 21-15, 15-11) final against 22-year-olds Adrielson dos Santos and Arthur da Silva.
“It was the first time we entered a tournament as the top-seeded team and I think that made me a little nervous,” George reflected. “It was great to win the tournament in front of families and friends and with our entire coaching staff around. It was the 30th time João Pessoa hosted a Brazilian Tour event as well and that makes it even more special. I hope we can keep playing this way so we can win the Brazilian title at the end of the season.”
The bronze medal went to another home player, Vitor Felipe, who partnered with 45-year-old legend Ricardo Santos, who lived in João Pessoa for nearly 20 years, to down Hevaldo Moreira and Vinicius Rezende 16-21, 21-18, 15-10 to finish third.
The Brazilian Tour will have three more stops until the end of the season and the next one will take place in Maceió from February 12-16.