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Duda finding home away from home alongside Agatha

Duda (left) celebrates winning gold in Rio with Agatha and her mother Cida Lisboa
Lausanne, Switzerland, April 24, 2018 – Eduarda ‘Duda’ Santos Lisboa has already packed a lot into her 19 years, and has already achieved a number of beach volleyball milestones that reflect a maturity well above her short time as a professional. 

Since 2017 she has played alongside Agatha Bednarczuk, one of the most experienced players on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. 

Agatha’s call came after she and Barbara Seixas had split after they had won silver at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games. 

That year Duda won a third FIVB Beach Volleyball U19 World Championships and a first FIVB Beach Volleyball U21 World Championships to fully underline her potential. The plan Agatha outlined was to develop that potential all the way to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games under the guidance of coach Leticia Pessoa, a three-time Olympic silver medallist.

However, the change meant moving 2000 kilometres from her hometown of Sao Cristovao in northeast Brazil to Rio de Janeiro. 

“My mom (Cida Lisboa) had always been my coach so I had never thought I would have to leave my city,” Duda told “But then Agatha called and it was a great opportunity, one that I couldn’t miss, so we talked and I decided to go. It was time to open the doors for a change and explore something new.

“It was very hard at first leaving my family behind. I missed them so much. I’ve spent my entire life with them and it’s tough for us to be separated. I cried a lot in the first weeks. I tried my best to not think too much about it, but it was hard.

“My mom was with me for the first two weeks, but when she left it was a blow. Not having her around was a new experience and it scared me. I had to do everything by myself and it was tough. It was a huge change for me, one that made me an adult very quickly.”

After she overcame the initial challenges Duda has flourished in the national training centre in Rio. It helped that Agatha knew exactly what she was going through having moved to Rio to play alongside Sandra Pires at a young age herself. 

They didn’t wait to make their mark on the World Tour and won silver at the Fort Lauderdale 5-Star Major, their first World Tour competition together. 
Since then they have added one gold medal, one silver and three bronze medal finishes and currently sit third in the FIVB Beach Volleyball Women’s Rankings. 

“I’m very happy about everything that came with this change in my life,” Duda said. “A lot of things which were not part of my world now are, such as playing frequently in the World Tour and being among the best. That’s great for me, especially being so young. Agatha and Leticia know what it takes to make it to the Olympics and it has been amazing to work with them.

“I’m an entirely new person now. The spoiled girl I used to be is gone and now I’m someone who knows and understands how the real world is. Rio is huge, so I had to learn it one way or the other. I matured a lot over the last year. The beginning was hard, but I feel much better now. I’m enjoying Rio a lot and I feel adapted already.”


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