FIVB VolleyWorld 9/2013 - English - page 19

Gabriela Guimaraes shows nerves
of steel on graduation to senior ranks
At only 19-years-of-age Gabriela Guimaraes was the youngest
player in the Brazil team that won the FIVB World Grand Prix
gold in Japan. Here
looks at her remarkable rise
to the top of the volleyball world.
It has been a memorable few months for Brazilian wing spiker Ga-
briela ‘Gabi’ Guimaraes. Earlier in the year she was part of the Brazil
team that won bronze in the FIVB Women’s U20 World Champion-
ship in Czech Republic and impressed enough to receive a call up
from her namesake, but not related Jose Roberto Guimaraes. Brazil’s
legendary coach wanted her to be a part of the senior squad for the
World Grand Prix in Sapporo.
In Japan she was able to show the skills that have already earmarked
her as a probable member of the Brazil team that will go for a third
consecutive Olympic gold medal at their home Rio de Janeiro 2016
Olympic Games. In Japan those skills helped Brazil end their three-
year wait for a World Grand Prix title and took the South Americans
to the top of the FIVB World Rankings.
“It is really good to be champion,” Gabi, said. “It was a great tourna-
ment. Our team kept our rhythm going from the start. Our goal was
to win all our matches in the Finals and we did that.
“I am happy to have played this tournament. It was my first title with
the main national team.”
For the Belo Horizonte born player, not only was the 2013 World
Grand Prix her first chance to win a senior title with Brazil, but it also
meant she managed to realise a childhood dream, by playing along-
side her hero; opposite spiker Sheilla Castro, a player who also hails
from Belo Horizonte.
“My dream was to play with Sheilla in the main national team,” Gabi
said. “The World Grand Prix was a moment of realising that dream.
Gabi was a powerful presence at the net in Japan
“I was always a fan of hers and my parents always remind me of
Earlier in 2013, Gabi was part of the Unilever team that won the
Brazilian Superliga title led by another legendary figure in Brazilian
volleyball, coach Bernardo Rezende.
During the season she replaced USA wing spiker Logan Tom who was
ruled out with injury, but despite her young age Gabi showed maturi-
ty beyond her years and with Rezende and Guimaraes overseeing her
progress Castro has no doubt the Gabi will be a fixture in the national
team for many more years.
“It is really good to play with Gabi,” Sheilla said. “She is really mature
for her age. We joke a lot on and off the court. She is a player that
shone in the last Superliga. She had an amazing Grand Prix and will
improve more until 2016.”
I am happy to have played this
tournament. It was my first title
with the main national team.
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