Portuguese hopes high for Gira-Praia programme
The Gira-Praia programme is based on the Gira-Volei programme that the Federation introduced for volleyball and which has attracted 100,000 young players aged between eight and 16.
Francisco Fidalgo the Beach Volleyball High Performance Training Center coordinator has high hopes that such success can be replicated on the beach, with players moving from volleyball to beach volleyball.
“There are athletes with the ability to become successful Portuguese beach volleyball players,” he said. “One of the objectives of Gira-Praia is to attract more youngsters, who are not currently playing for any club to this sport and then developing them for the future.
“In the early stages it is very important that Gira-Praia athletes practice alongside players with some experience. It’s important for them to become acquainted with the level of demand they will face as athletes.”
For the past two years Portugal’s second city, Oporto has hosted the FIVB U19 World Championships and the hope is that they will be able to challenge for the medals in such tournaments in years to come.
Eva Monteiro, a 14-year-old from Braga is one of the players who has moved to Gira-Praia from Gira-Volei.
“Gira-Praia is different, there are new movements, new techniques and this has been an excellent experience,” she said. “We are here to learn and we must be focused in training, but it is always fun.”
Gira-Praia is set to begin tournaments across Portugal throughout the summer of 2014 and then continue then throughout the year.
“Gira-Praia is great; I’m having a lot of fun, although I consider this to be much more difficult,” 13-year-old Carlos Soares said. “We have a very demanding training schedule and the sand doesn’t help our movement, but I like it.”
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