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NEWS

Talita at home, Pedro seeks improvement

 
Evandro Gonçalves, Pedro Solberg, Talita Antunes and Larissa Franca at Tuesday's Maceió Open press conference.
 
Maceió, Brazil, February 23, 2016 - Two of the top Brazilian beach volleyball teams were featured here Tuesday at a mid-day press conference prior to the start of the 'money rounds' Wednesday at the $150,000 Maceió Open on the Pajuçara courts in front of the Hotel Enseada.

Quick links
•    Maceio Open website
•    Qualification results - Men
•    Qualification results - Women
•    Main draw results - Men
•    Main draw results - Women

Two-time Brazilian Olympian Talita Antunes talked about playing in a city where she moved to when she was 16.  “I have a lot of fond memories here and a lot of my best friends are still here,” said the 33-year old Talita.  “It is great that family and friends can see the international tour for the first time in almost 20 years.”

Three years before Talita’s family moved to the Brazilian coastal state of Alagoas on the Atlantic Ocean, the FIVB World Tour made its only appearance in Maceio with a women’s event in April 1996 where Brazil swept the podium led by eventual Atlanta Olympic champions Sandra Pires and Jackie Silva.

“We have played here domestically, so the fans are very knowledgeable about the sport,” said Talita, who placed fourth at the Beijing 2008 Olympics (with Renata Ribeiro) and ninth at the London 2012 (with Maria Antonelli) Olympic Games. Talita will team with Larissa Franca for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as the pair will be one of the favourites to medal.

For Pedro Solberg, who will be competing in his first Olympics in Rio with Evandro Gonçalves, the start of the 2016 international season is about “improving with every serve, rally, set, match and tournament.  The pressure of qualifying for the Olympics is not there since Evandro and I have already been named to the team. It not so much about winning gold medals now as just showing improvement with our game.”

Goncalves and Solberg
Evandro and Pedro Solberg were bronze medallists at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship The Netherlands 2015

Talita and Pedro begin competing with their partners in the Maceió Open Wednesday for the first of two days of pool play leading to the elimination rounds Friday and Saturday. The Maceió Open concludes Sunday with the medal matches for men and women. The winning teams will share the $11,000 first-place prizes while netting 500 points that will count towards qualifying for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The Maceió Open is the fifth of 23 stops on the 2015-2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar. The 2015-2016 international calendar started last October and November with stops in Mexico, Turkey and Qatar with an event in Iran last week.

Following the Maceió Open, the FIVB World Tour will take a week off before resuming competition March 8-13 on famed Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, the first grand slam event on the 2015-2016 international beach volleyball calendar with an $800,000 purse.

The FIVB World Tour returns to the Brazilian coast for the $150,000 Vitória Open March 15-20. After events in Qatar (Doha) and China (Xiamen and Fuzhou), the international beach volleyball circuit returns to Brazil for the $150,000 Fortaleza Open (April 26-May 1).

The fifth and final stop in Brazil on the 2015-2016 FIVB World Tour calendar will be the Rio 2016 Olympic Games August 5-21 on Copacabana Beach as the Maceió, Vitória and Fortaleza “Open” events along with the Rio Grand Slam stop are part of the important qualifying process for these first-ever Summer Games in South America.




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