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Brazil's Pedro Cunha to end professional career

Pedro Cunha reached the quarterfinals with Ricardo Santo on his Olympic debut

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 27 February, 2013 – Brazil’s London 2012 Olympian Pedro Cunha has announced that he will retire from beach volleyball before the start of the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour.

The 29-year-old will play his last professional tournament at the ninth stop of the Banco do Brasil Beach Volleyball Tour between March 15 and 18. He played alongside Ricardo Santos at London 2012 where they reached the quarter-finals, but long-term injuries mean he is unable to follow the tough routine of a professional athlete.

“I have being thinking about it for some months and several things were considered, such as the injuries I suffered over the last few years, the fatigue and the regular travel,” he said. “The last few years have been were very hard on me. It was a tough call, but I am pretty sure about it.”

Cunha burst onto the scene at the 2001 Junior World Championships where he and Anselmo Sigoli won gold. A year later he claimed silver with Adriano Fonseca, and then won a second gold in 2003, this time alongside Pedro Salgado.

He then made his World Tour debut at the 2003 World Championships in Rio de Janeiro and achieved his first podium finish in only his third World Tour event, when he and Rogerio Para claimed bronze at the 2004 Lianyungang Open. By the end of the year he had won his first World Tour gold medal at the Carolina Open with Para and in total he won seven golds, nine silver and eight bronze medals.

His partnership with Ricardo only came about after a late change following the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships. The pair had only the minimum amount of tournaments available to them if they wanted to qualify for London, but they took gold at their second tournament together at the 2011 Klagenfurt Grand Slam and then won tournaments in The Hague, Myslowice and Prague to book their place at the Olympics.

“I would like to thank all the partners, coaches and sponsors I had during my career,” Cunha added. “I always gave my best for the teams I played in. Ricardo was a wonderful partner, we had some amazing moments together in the last two years and he understood my decision. I will play my last tournament in Maceio and I want to enjoy every match as though it is the last one.”

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