Pedro Henrique Resende Santos – living up to the legend
But after the Pan American Games in 2007 in Rio de Janeiro, where his father competed, something changed. “I could not stop myself liking the sport. I felt so proud. Just seeing him play and win that gold medal. The whole arena shouted ‘Brazil, Brazil’. It was a very happy moment for me and my father.”
“From that moment on I thought - this is my sport, I have to play. This is the future life I want to live.”
So that’s why, years later, Pedro Henrique is competing at the FIVB Beach Volleyball U19 World Championships in Porto, his first international FIVB experience.
“The World Championship is a really important tournament for our age. All players between 15 and 18 dream of playing here. For me it’s a big moment. I have trained very hard for this and now I am receiving some reward for all the hard work over the years.”
Things did not go the way he thought they would though. “On the first day of this tournament I cried when we lost in the qualifications to Russia. I thought that all my sacrifices would be lost and we would be eliminated from the tournament.”
“We trained very hard to be here. Almost six months of training in Rio and one month of partnership with Maia. All the hard work we put in it was lost. It was a very sad moment. When you train this hard and lose in qualifications and the fact that you can’t play any more.”
“Tears is something you can’t control. Some moments you have to cry, you can’t stop, you want to, but you can’t. I’m almost crying again now when I think about that moment.”
“But some players did not show up and we were able to enter the main draw after all. It was a very happy moment for me and my partner.”
In their pool at the U19 World Champs lucky losers Pedro Henrique and his 16-year old partner Matheus Maia Terra de Faria lost their first two matches to Canada and Russia, but won against Costa Rico to advance as third in their pool to the elimination rounds.
On Saturday they unfortunately met the same strong Russian team with the huge blocker that beat them in qualifications and again they lost, but this time they could put up more of a fight, winning one set (22-24 21-15 15-13).
“I am not too happy about the way I blocked today, I only got two or three blocks, but in general I am content. It was a good experience for us.”
“It was a very difficult tournament. The tournament level was really high, surreal. Before I came here I did not think the level would be this high. We were hoping to bring back a medal to Brazil, to add to the silver Vitor Felipe and Marcio won at the U23.”
“There are very tall blockers, compared to me. I am just 1,90 metres, a short blocker, not very high. I just can’t jump like the big blockers from Canada, Russia and Germany.”
Pedro Henrique hopes one day he will be able to block like his father. He watches him a lot and listens to his advice, but until recently he was not able to train with Ricardo.
“I did not live with him when I started to play. I lived in a different state. My first three years of volleyball were indoor with my school. But then I had to stop playing volleyball for six month because of a knee injury.”
After that Pedro Henrique and his mother moved to Joao Pessoa, where his father lives, and he started to play beach volleyball.
“The contact with my father became more intense, because we could see each other more. He could teach me some volleyball tactics and I could live with him. Moving there was a very good thing, one of the best moment in my live.”
Pedro Henrique admires his father a lot. “I think that the level and his playing style is still very high. He is not decreasing like other players his age. Like the German team that had to retire because of injury.”
“I think my father is a legend. There is not going to be another player that will win as many medals as my father. He is a unique player. He has a block I have never seen in a player.”
“You don’t see many 38-year athletes that still win so many medals. For me he is the biggest legend in beach volleyball.”
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