Sentosa, Singapore, May 24, 2007 - No team has played more years together on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour than Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede as the legendary Brazilian Beach Volleyball tandem started their 12th-year of competition together here Thursday in the in the US$200,000 Singapore Open.
With a 21-18 and 21-14 win over 27th-seeded Daniela Gioria and Lucilla Perrotta of Italy, Adriana and Shelda posted their 554 career win in 110 SWATCH starts since forming their partnership at the end of the 1995 season. The Brazilians are also the FIVB’s all-time winningest men’s or women’s team with 31 SWATCH gold medals and $2,108,765 in earnings.
"It’s always good to play with Shelda,” said the 38-year old Adriana, who has won two SWATCH-FIVB World Championship gold medals with her 34-year old partner. “We’ve been playing for 12 years and the most important thing is to enjoy and have fun. As two of the oldest players of the competition, we need more than just ability. We have a good relationship, a good friendship and very clear goals. We’re looking to qualify for the Olympic Games and this is our final goal in Beach Volleyball.
Adriana and Shelda, who play 11th-seeded Milagros Crespo and Imara Esteves Ribalta of Cuba for the 22nd-seeded Nystrom twins (Emilia and Erika) of Finland in their second match Thursday, are seeking their third Olympic trip after capturing the silver medals at both the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Summer Games.
“I stopped playing for two months after my injuries earlier this season and have only returned to practice for past 20 days,” said Adriana, who has now posted a 612-154 (79.9 percent) match mark since playing her first FIVB event in 1993. “Even though I think I’m not in my best condition, this is only the first event of the season and I will get better."
Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca joined their Brazilian compatriots in competing in their first SWATCH start this season on Siloso Beach. Juliana and Larissa, who have replaced Adriana and Shelda as the top-ranked team on the women’s FIVB circuit, posted a 21-10 and 21-15 win over 32nd-seeded Heidi Ilustre and Diane Pascua of the Philippines in their first Singapore Open match Thursday.
All three Brazilian teams in the 32-team Main Draw posted opening wins Thursday. Third-seeded Talita Antunes and Renata Ribeiro scored a 21-13 and 21-11 victory over 30th-seeded Liesbet Van Breedam and Liesbeth Mouha of Belgium in their first match.
The inaugural Singapore Open is the second qualifying event for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games as the women’s SWATCH-FIVB World Tour is at the start of its 16th-season of international competition. The Singapore Open concludes Sunday when the final two teams compete for the $32,000 first-place prize.
photos Janos Schmidt