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Brazil’s top female beach volleyball teams to split for 2013 season

Larissa said she needs some time to herself, and will take a break from playing
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, October 10, 2012 – Brazil’s top two women’s beach volleyball teams will change in 2013. The country´s Olympic duos of Larissa França / Juliana Felisberta Da Silva and Talita Antunes / Maria Antonelli announced the end of both partnerships at the end of 2012.

Before they split, both teams are expected to play in the FIVB SWATCH World Tour 2012 closing event in Bangsaen, Thailand. Larissa and Juliana remain in contention to win the 2012 World Tour title, currently in play between them and Chinese pair of Xi Zhang and Chen Xue.

Team mates since 2004, Larissa and Juliana are among the most successful pairs in beach volleyball history. The duo has won six World Tours, two Pan-American Games and five Brazilian Tours. The pair finally won their first World Championship in 2011, after previously taking two silvers and a bronze. They collected the bronze medal at the London Olympics – Juliana’s first Games and Larissa’s second. In 2008 the pair set the women’s record for World Tour gold medals in a single season with eight.

Larissa and Juliana are going their separate ways as the 30-year-old Larissa looks to take more time for herself – among other things, she would like to become a mother.

“I want to have a break now,” she said. “Playing beach volleyball is amazing, but also extremely wearing. We have had to put many other things aside. This is not a sudden decision, I have thought a lot about it and I realized that the best moment is now, with a new Olympic cycle just beginning.”

Larissa did not confirm whether her break will be temporary or permanent. “I do not know what the future will be or how I will feel in 2013, once I’ve had some time without playing and practicing after years of intense dedication. All I know is that I want a break now.”

Juliana, who did not confirm who she will play with in 2013, said she understands her partner´s choice and wishes her all the best.

“Larissa had previously told me she could only promise she would play until the end of this season,” said Juliana. “She paid a high price to stay the best player and now she has decided to focus on her personal life. I respect her call and I really hope she will be happy in her new life.”

Brazil’s second team at the London Olympic Games, Talita / Antonelli, announced they will end their partnership at the beginning of December. They also explained the timing of their split by pointing to the start of a new Olympic cycle.

“I have lived through four years and many wins with Maria, but the Olympic cycle has ended and it´s time for us to think about the future,” said Talita. “We talked a lot and decided that it would be better for both of us to live new things. It´s tough, but we will go on.”

Talita and Antonelli have been paired together since 2009. They won three golds, one  silver and one bronze in their first six tournaments together, finishing the 2009 FIVB World Tour with four golds and a total of 10 medals. In 2010 and 2011 they added 11 more medals, including three golds, and so far on the 2012 World Tour they have earned one gold, two silvers and a bronze.

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