Yet another successful year for Brazil's VivaVolei festival
The festival saw the participation of children from 17 areas of the city of Rio de Janeiro, with activities taking place in Madureira’s Aniceto Moscoso stadium.
The VivaVôlei Programme Manager, Marcos Aurélio Gonçalves spoke about the evolution of the event.
"I was involved with the first festival, which was much simpler and had a smaller contingent of people,” he said. “It is very gratifying to see the consolidated work of everyone involved including our sponsors. Currently we can offer a day of leisure for children who often do not have access to such activities on account of their family’s financial conditions.”
The main purpose of the event is to bring together students from all areas of Rio to socialise through sport.
"The expectation is that we can have children from different parts of the city interact with each other. Here they can have fun, eat well and still have the opportunity to have contact with professional athletes," said Gonçalves.
Present at the event on Sunday were national beach volleyball stars Oscar Brandão Guimarães (who finished fifth at the 2004 World Championship in Portugal) and World Tour player Evandro Gonçalves de Oliveira Junior. The two took the opportunity to show the young children some simple volleyball techniques.
Evandro praised the initiative saying, "Participating in an event like this really excites me especially as I find myself here in Madurai, where I grew up. I can identify with these children as I was like them at their age. I also think that VivaVôlei helps to reveal new talent for our sport."
His colleague Oscar was also very enthusiastic about the event and its hope for bringing the country’s furture players to light. "When I was younger I watched our stars compete in competitions on the beach and I so wanted to become one of them. If I had a project like this when I started it would have certainly helped a lot, and it's something that is already bearing fruit, with former students who are beginning their careers. It is very cool."
Alexander Arêas, who is VivaVôlei Under- Secretary of Sports said, “The idea is to give an opportunity to children to participate in such events. Many cannot afford to leave the city to have a leisurely day like this. And I, who started as a teacher am biased: I think VivaVôlei is a unique program, because it promotes the sport and socialisation among children. It is a very structured design."