Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 15, 2017 - Less than one year removed from the silver medal they won at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Brazilians Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas are set to play again in the city this week in the US$300,000 Rio Open.
This time, however, the 2015 world champions will enter the Olympic Park as rivals, as Agatha now teams Eduarda “Duda” Lisboa and Barbara teams up with Fernanda Alves. And the recent results show that both teams are strong contenders to the top of the podium of the “four star” FIVB event at the Rio Olympic Park.
Barbara and Fernanda joined forces last September and have collected a bronze medal on the Brazilian Tour since then, in the Aracaju stop. The duo had its shiniest moment so far in April, when they won the gold medal at the “three star” FIVB World Tour event in Xiamen, China.
“Our first months together have been really prolific as we getting more and more confidence on our team”, Barbara said. “Our first goal was to climb up on the world rankings and we made it thanks to our planning and hard work. Our focus now is on qualifying to the World Championships and we know that the Rio and the Moscow tournaments will be vital to that. I am really looking forward to play at home again especially after such a special year”.
Agatha and 18-year-old Duda have also enjoyed some early success on their recent partnership. Sharing the same side of the net since January, the veteran and the rookie have been in the podium in each of the six tournaments they played, including a silver medal won at the Fort Lauderdale Major, in February.
Eduarda "Duda" Lisbona (left) and Agatha Bednarczuk share the podium at the Fort Lauderdale Major
“The first months of our partnership have been great”, Agatha commented. “We were hoping for a good start, but we definitely exceeded our own expectations, especially getting the silver medal in Fort Lauderdale. Duda is very young and played regularly on the World Tour for the first time last year, but she is showing an amazing spirit”.
The host country has two other teams guaranteed in the main draw in Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca and Taiana Lima/Elize Maia. Josemari Alves/Liliane Maestrini will start at qualifier while Maria Antonelli/Carolina Horta and Juliana Felisberta/Carolina Salgado will clash in the country-quota.
The tournament begins Wednesday with qualifying for both men and women. The Main Draws for both genders start Thursday with "modified" pool play followed by elimination rounds Friday and Saturday and the medal matches Sunday.