Lausanne, 4 February 2008 - With an eye in the Beijing Olympic Games, in August, a new Brazilian Beach Volleyball pair has been formed. Leila Barros and Sandra Pires decided to add efforts to fight for a place in the Olympics. Not an easy task, as according to the country quota rules established by the FIVB, only two teams from each country can participate. Currently, Brazil’s two spots belong to world ranking leaders Juliana and Larissa, and Renata and Talita.
Until the limit date for the definition of the qualified teams there will be 12 events of the SWATCH FIVB World Tour and Sandra, 34, and Leila, 36, need to be on the podium in, at least, eight of them, if they wish to grab one of the spots for Beijing. In case they make it, Sandra Pires will play her fourth Olympics. In Atlanta, 1996, with Jacqueline, she won gold and four years later was bronze in the Sydney Olympics, with Adriana Samuel. Leila Barros’ greatest achievements were in Volleyball: two Olympic bronze medals with the Brazilian national team. One in Atlanta and the other one in Sydney
Getting in tune will not be a problem for the pair, as they played together in 2001, just after Leila left the indoor courts and moved to the beach. Now, however, Sandra has as partner a player who is more experienced in the game, having won many points in the world ranking during the 2007 season and, thus, both of them join the fight eager for a place in the Olympics.
“Playing with Leila is an opportunity to get back to the international scene after being away for two years. We form a very competitive team, which has experience and determination as main qualities” said Sandra Pires, whose former partner, Virna, has other plans for 2008. “When we ended our pair, I didn’t think about playing the World Tour unless I met a pair which was really worth it. Qualifying to the Olympics is very hard. One place is well assured, and it belongs to Juliana and Larissa. It is even harder for us, because we will begin the tournaments playing the country quota (a preliminary tournament among pairs from the same country), then there will be the qualifications and, if we win, we will move on to the events. But we want to try”, adds Sandra.
The team’s debut will be in the Brazilian Beach Volleyball circuit, which will take place in February, in the city of Porto Alegre. In the SWATCH FIVB World Tour, Sandra and Leila will take part since the first event, in Australia, from 25 to 30 of March.
photos Janos Schmidt