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Olympic champions Sheilla and Thaisa return to Women’s Club World Championship with Minas

Itambe Minas Volei's Thaisa Menezes spikes the ball
Lausanne, Switzerland, November 16, 2019 – Two-time Olympic gold medallists Sheilla Castro Blassioli and Thaisa Menezes (Beijing 2008 and London 2012) are back on active duty for Itambe Minas Clube of Brazil in the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship to be held in Shaoxing, China from December 3 to 8.

Sheilla has two Club World Championship medals to her name – gold in 2012 and silver in 2014 with Osasco - and also claimed Best Scorer and MVP honours. Thaisa, on the other hand, won gold medals with Osasco in 2012 and Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul in 2016 and silver medals with Osasco in 2010 and 2014, to go alongside her Best Spiker and Best Middle Blocker awards.

“The teams will be very strong so we will fight for every point in every match. I hope to help my team with my experience. I know it will be difficult but I trust that we can make a great World Championship performance. My main goal is only one – to do the best for my team,” said Thaisa.

“I have participated in four Club World Championships and have won twice and placed second twice. I hope to keep these good results going and get the best possible position for my team this year.”

Thaisa believes that their stint at the biggest club competition this year will help her team improve their performance in the Brazilian league.

“It’s a tough competition with very competitive teams,” Thaisa added. “I am sure it will help us gain more pace in our play and a lot of experience as a team. The more we play together, the more we will know each other and create a very important connection when we move towards the Brazilian championship.

“We want our fans to know that we will dedicate ourselves to perform our best on the court. We will train with great focus and dedication to perform our best in every competition we play.”

Two-time Olympic gold medallist Thaisa Menezes rejoins Minas

The two Olympic champions will be joined by Nicola Negro, who has replaced Italian tactician Stefano Lavarini at the helm of Minas, in their bid to improve their Club World Championship silver medal finish in 2018.

“Itambe Minas has had a successful season, winning the Brazilian Superliga after 17 years, the Brazilian Cup, the South American Championship and the Minas State Championship,” coach Negro said.

“I arrived this year and I have the honour to replace Stefano Lavarini who led the team in the last two seasons. This is a new chapter, a new season and a renewed team. Part of the team remained the same with Macris, Leia, Carol Gattaz and Bruna Honorio. We added some experienced players like Sheilla and Thaisa, but we also have added some new players. I think our team has a good mix of experienced and young players.”

Negro counts on the team’s usual starters, and on Thaisa and Sheilla to achieve his team's goals this year.

“We started again with Macris and Leia who cover the two basic positions of setter and libero, and then we needed the experience of captain Carol Gattaz. Thaisa is another key player who doesn’t need any introduction and Sheilla’s important comeback after three years of inactivity will give us an interesting alternative to Bruna Honorio, who will also be returning after her surgery.”

Nicola Negro will lead Minas in the 2019/2020 season

The Italian coach is aware of the tough competition in Shaoxing but is doing his best to get his team to seize the opportunity and prepare them for the rest of the season.

“We are practicing and training hard. Unfortunately, we haven’t had a chance to play many matches. We will arrive in Shaoxing with not so many official matches played as compared to the Turkish and Italian teams that started their season weeks ago. However, we will try to get into the right rhythm of play and be ready for the competition,” said Negro.

“We want to reach the best possible result for sure. We are aware of the strengths of all our opponents and it’s clearly going to be one of the best Women’s Club World Championship editions ever because of the strong field of teams. We want to take our chances and at the same time work on our goal to develop as a team.”

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