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Giba reflects on 16 years of South American Championships

Brazil captain Giba has been forced to sit out the Men's South American Championship, but is still helping his team from the sidelines
Cuiabá, Brazil, September 22, 2011 – Brazil captain and FIVB Hero Giba has spoken of his previous experience at the Men’s South American Championship, saying that his first edition of the tournament in 1995 was very special.

The 34 year-old, who is sitting out this year’s tournament due to an inflamed shin, has participated at, and won, every edition since then, winning eight gold medals in total, a staggering record for any sport.

However, he is still helping his side this year from the sidelines, despite how difficult he finds sitting out of the game.

“It is always complicated to see the game from outside,” Giba said. “However we know that the most important competition of the year is the FIVB World Cup, in November. Because of that we decided that it would be better if I stay out of the South American Championship. I will be here supporting the team but I will not be able to play. I am working hard to be back in the court at 100 per cent over the next few weeks.”

Brazil coach Bernardo “Bernardinho” Rezende added that Giba’s presence has been really important for the group. “Giba came to the South American Championship to work hard and to keep in activity,” he explained.

Despite his experience and eagerness to get back onto the court, Giba is enjoying contributing to the team in a different way. “This time, the way I see the South American Championship is slightly different,” he added. “The first time, I remember I had a great anxiety to be side by side to my idols at the time, and now, with a well known name in the sport, it is natural to have a different perspective.”

The captain is keen to stress that although he is more mature now, his enthusiasm remains exactly the same as it was in the beginning. “We´re going with all our strengths to this Championship. It is very important for our team. We are firm and strong in the pursuit of this title.”

“I still remember my first participation in the tournament, very young, at the age of 18, playing side by side with great idols of the generation of 92. It was special.”

In 1995, with a team which featured the likes of Marcelo Negrão, Giovane, Maurício, Tande, Carlão, Giba found himself wotj a golden opportunity. Even with number four shirt (his usual number seven shirt was held by volleyball legend Nalbert at the time) he jumped at the chance.

“That one is for sure a Championship that I will never forget,” Giba reminisced. “I remember everything, the people, the gymnasium in Porto Alegre, it was all very good.”


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