World champs Agatha and Barbara ready to live every minute of debut Olympics
Barbara (left) and Agatha will be among the favourties at Rio 2016
Lausanne, Switzerland, May 3, 2016 – They have played together since 2011, choose Gstaad as their favourite venue and both took different paths to their current position, but for Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas 2016 is shaping up to be the most memorable of years.
The Brazilian duo are looking forward to the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games, their first-ever taste of the quadrennial sporting spectacular, but a tournament they go into as one of the favourites having topped the beach volleyball world when they claimed gold at the Netherlands 2015 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships.
“We’ve never played an Olympic Games and for both of us it will be our first time and it is in Brazil, so it will be very, very special for us,” Agatha said. “It will be difficult to imagine how it will be.”
“It will be an honour to play our first Olympics and at home,” Barbara added. “While we don’t have any words for it we will live every minute and every moment of it.”
The pair started off their beach volleyball careers from different points; Agatha played volleyball for 10 years from the age of 10 before she moved onto the beach. Barbara also began playing aged 10, but on the beach with her brothers and later at a beach volleyball school.
The first teamed up in 2011 on the Brazilian Tour and them began playing together on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour in 2012. However, after a season that yielded a solitary Bangsaen Open bronze they went their separate ways.
Barbara teamed up with Liliane Maestrini and won 2013 World Championship bronze, Gstaad Grand Slam silver and Rome Grand Slam bronze. Agatha meanwhile won one World Tour silver and bronze alongside Maria Antonelli, but by the start of the 2014 they were back in tandem.
That year they won one gold, one silver and two bronze on the World Tour before they exploded into 2015 with gold at the Prague Open. Silver at the Stavanger Major Series tournament and gold at the St Petersburg Major Series tournament sent them to the Netherlands with confidence flowing, confidence that shone through as they topped the podium.
They have already won their first medals of 2016 with bronze at the Maceio Open.
“We played on our national tour with different partners,” Barbara said. “I wanted a new partner in 2011 and I needed a new partner and I thought one possibility was Agatha. We weren’t friends and only spoke a little.
“We only really said hello,” Agatha added, “but I loved her vitality and I had no doubts about playing with her.”
The Rio 2016 beach volleyball competition will take place on the iconic Copacabana Beach and runs from August 6-18. The night before the tournament begins the eyes of the world will be on the Maracana Stadium, which hosts the opening ceremony.
The flame recently arrived in Brazil to begin its journey to the cauldron and while the athlete given the honour of lighting the flame is a well-kept secret, the duo has their thoughts on who it might be.
“It is hard to say as we have many great athletes,” Agatha said. “Serginho from the volleyball team, maybe. We have so many who could represent us.”
“Maybe (sailor) Robert Scheidt,” Barbara suggested. “He has appeared in a lot of Olympics and won five medals.”