Sheilla nearing top form as Tokyo 2020 approaches


Back with Itambé Minas, Sheilla started 2020 with good performances in Brazil

Belo Horizonte, Brazil, February 27, 2020 – Brazilian star Sheilla Castro resumed her volleyball career last year after giving birth to twins Liz and Ninna with an eye on representing her country at the Olympics one more time at this year’s Tokyo Games.

It’s been a slow process, something which was to be expected for a player who was away from the sport for three years, but the first months of 2020 brought encouraging signs that the 36-year-old opposite could be back to her best when head coach José Roberto Guimarães picks the players that will be part of the roster in the Japanese capital this summer.

Sheilla featured in the Brazilian roster during last year’s FIVB World Cup in Japan, where she came off the bench in all of the team’s 11 matches in the tournament, but played limited minutes. She knew, however, that the club season would be where she would actually be able to show that despite a long period of inactivity she can still be an important player for the South American side. 

The opposite returned to Itambé Minas, the club with which she debuted in the Brazilian Superliga several years ago, and has steadily improved her role with the team. She was a reserve during the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship, but won a starting spot shortly after the end of the tournament in China.

Back in Brazil, the opposite had a tremendous performance at the semifinal of the Brazilian Cup, scoring 19 points, and was a key player in Itambé Minas’ third-straight victory in the South American Club Championship last week.

“Coming into the season, I had the Superliga and the South American Championship as priorities,” she said after the victory at the continental tournament. “I knew I wouldn’t be at 100 per cent of my form, but I took it as a personal goal to be at the best level I could. After three years away, it hasn’t been easy and I haven’t reached my best yet, but I’d say I’m somewhere between 70 and 80 per cent now.”

An Olympic champion at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Games, Sheilla also appeared at the Rio 2016 Olympics, in which hosts Brazil finished fifth. The veteran opposite will likely wear the Brazilian jersey again at the 2020 FIVB Volleyball Nations League, where she hopes she can book a place in Tokyo.

Until then, however, she’ll take it one day at a time. 

“If I said I don’t think about Tokyo I’d be lying, but I try not to put too much weight on it,” she said. “I think that if the Olympics were all I thought about I’d lose focus on my daily work and I really need it to improve to the level I want to be in - a position that will allow me to be part of the team.”

Sheilla celebrates with the gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics

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