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Beach volleyball star Juliana claims gold in Russia
Former world champion Juliana Felisberta da Silva made a remarkable comeback this weekend. The Brazilian beach volleyball star, who has not played on the World Tour since her break-up with long-time partner Larissa Franca at the end of 2012, claimed a gold medal at the Russian Club Championships on Sunday in Anapa.
The 29-year old Juliana was invited by beach club Moscow Regional VCMO to play with Russia’s Maria Prokopeva. In the final they beat Evgenia Ukolova and her American partner Lane Carico, playing for beach club Energy, 2-1 (19-21 21-18 15-5).
Dmitri Barsouk and Yarloslav Koshkarev won the men’s Club Championship, beating Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Ruslan Bykanov 2-0 (21-16 21-16).
Long and successful career
Bronze medallists at the London Olympic Games last year, Juliana and Larissa played together for nine years, winning the World Tour seven times, the Brazilian Tour five times, the Pan-American Games twice and the World Championship once, in 2011. The duo achieved over 100 titles and 1,000 wins.
Juliana and Larissa ended their winning partnership because 31-year old Larissa wanted to become a mother. Juliana is not a member of the Brazilian national selection anymore due to some differences in opinion at the start of the 2013 season.
One time deal
Juliana had to rush off after the final to catch a flight to Brazil, but Prokopeva was very pleased with her short get-together with the Brazilian star.
“My club invited her to come and play for one tournament. It has been very nice to play with her. She is a nice person and a very good athlete. Of course I already knew her, I played against Juliana and Larissa maybe three times, but lost all.”
Prokopieva hopes to continue winning next week at the Anapa Open. She will team up with Svetlana Popova. The pair played three events together this year finishing 25th in The Hague and Rome and 37th at the World Championships in Stare Jablonki.
“I think we have a good chance here in Anapa. This is our country, we practice here in the winter.”
The double gender FIVB Anapa Open runs from July 24-28 and is held in ‘Volleygrad’, a huge (beach) volleyball complex built by the Russian National Federation in Anapa, including a volleyball hall and a beach volleyball stadium.