Vienna, Austria, August 6, 2017 – Brazil kept its dominance in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships with fourth-seeded Evandro Goncalves and Andre Loyola winning the gold medal of the 2017 edition of the tournament in Vienna this Sunday.
If Evandro was considered by many the difference-maker in the 2-0 (23-21, 22-20) gold medal match victory over local heroes Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst scoring as many as six aces, it was the 22-year-old Andre who made history, by becoming the youngest world champion ever.
“I didn’t even know about that, it’s a big surprise to me,” he said after the match. “Of course I dreamed about being a world champion one day, but it actually surprised me winning the gold medal at such a young age and in the first year of my partnership with Evandro. It just makes me happier and even more proud of what we did.”
An Espírito Santo native, the same state fellow Brazilian world champions Jose Loiola, Fabio Luiz Magalhaes and Alison Cerutti are from, Andre watched on TV when Olympic champions Alison and Bruno Schmidt won the 2015 World Championships in The Hague.
“I used to practice with them at the time and I watched them playing for the gold medal match and also Evandro winning bronze,” he said. “I cheered for them and I thought that I would love to have the same feeling one day. At the time I had only played in the FIVB World Tour once, so it was a long shot for me. I couldn’t imagine that I would be a world champion myself only two years later and, of course, the feeling now is even more amazing than I thought it would be.”
To write his name in beach volleyball history, Andre had to be strong enough to deal with the pressure of 10,000 fans who filled the Red Bull Beach Arena in support of the Austrians in the gold medal match.
“I was scared when I first entered the court,” Andre acknowledged. “We had played on centre court before, but this time it was so loud that we could barely talk to each other and that annoyed us a little bit in the beginning. We settled down, regained our focus and managed to win. It was definitely the most amazing experience I’ve ever had on a beach volleyball court.”