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Player's Profile 

Valeska Menezes

At the heart of a new-born Brazilian side

The Brazilian women’s team has a young and rejuvenated look to it in this, the first year of a new Olympic cycle, but despite the exciting blend of youth and experience, the presence of middle-blocker Valeskinha guarantees that Brazil will be as strong as previous years.

In the beginning of the season, Valeskinha was named captain of the team by the other players. It is a new role for her but since the 29-year-old middle-blocker is playing in her fifth World Grand Prix, she has plenty of experience to stand her in good stead. After playing the editions of 2001, 2002 (where she was elected the best blocker of the competition) and 2003, she finally won the World Grand Prix title last year.

Question: What does the World Grand Prix mean to you? Valeskinha: It’s a very interesting championship. It gives you the opportunity to play in different countries, and not only in one place. It is a long tournament, tiring because of the trips, but we can meet new people from different cultures and we can introduce Brazilian Volleyball to a lot of places in the world.

Q: You had the chance to win the title last year. What was the most remarkable thing you remember from this occasion? V: The semifinal against the United States. We were playing very well, winning, but the Americans made the game very difficult. It was more emotional and a tougher match in general than the final against Italy.

Q: What was it like to win the World Grand Prix individual award? V: I was elected the best blocker in 2002 and it was a great thing. It proved that I did a good job. I also won the same prize at the Junior World Championships, in 1993. After that I was elected the best attacker of the Youth World Championships, in 1995.

Q: What is the feeling like in this new Brazilian team? V: All the players want to play and learn and that is a very positive thing in a young group. It is a team that knows it has to work hard. Each player knows they depend on one another. I have been where the younger ones are now, so I am trying to pass on a little bit of my experience.

Q: For the first time in your career in the senior side you will carry the responsibility of being the captain. How does that sit with you? V: I was moved by the decision, and more for the fact that the other players elected me. I did not expect it and was very surprised because the captain is usually the setter. I am happy to have the chance that they have given me. The good part is that everyone has confidence in me.

Q: Which team is your favourite to win the Grand Prix title this year? V: There are some teams like the current Olympic champions China and Cuba and then there are others who are not going to play their full strength side like the United States. I think that Brazil is one of the favourites. Even with our new look side, we have already collected titles in Courmayeur and Montreux.

 

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Personal Data

 
 
Shirt No: 8
Age: 44
Height: 180 cm
Highest Spike: 302 cm
Highest Block 290 cm
National Selections
OG: 8 WCH: 24  Others: 79
Actual Club:
Unilever Volei

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*   ”All the players want to play and learn and that is a very positive thing in a young group”

“I have been where the younger ones are now, so I am trying to pass on a little bit of my experience.”

“I think that Brazil is one of the favourites. Even with our new look side, we have already collected titles in Courmayeur and Montreux.”
*
 

See also ...

 
 
 Nootsara Tomkom
A setter in Volleyball is often likened to the quarterback in American Football, the centre midfield player in football and the flyhalf in rugby. A team without any of these positions is rudderless and that is exactly how Nootsara Tomkom feels in the Thailand women’s Volleyball squad.
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