Ana Patricia Silva Ramos and Rebecca Cavalcanti Barbosa Silva have only been playing together on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour since 2017, but they have already made their mark among the leading beach volleyball pairs.
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour
Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
The Brazilians paired up together for the first time on the World Tour at the Moscow 3-Star in 2017 and in just over a year they had won their first medal, gold at the Qinzhou 3-Star, a medal they added to by the end of 2018 with silver at the Yangzhou 4-Star.
Five years separate the 27-year-old Rebecca and 22-year-old Ana Patricia. Before teaming up Rebecca’s only World Tour success came when she and Liliane Maestrini won bronze at events in 2014 (Parana, Argentina) and 2016 (Fortaleza, Brazil).
In contrast Ana Patricia was earmarked as a future superstar after she won the U19 and U21 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships, and the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games titles alongside Eduarda ‘Duda’ Lisboa.
However, by 2019 their understanding was red hot and they began the year by winning gold in The Hague.
Ana Patricia and Rebecca added further gold at the Xiamen 4-Star, as well as a silver, and three bronze before the season ended. Then to round off the year they left the Rome 2019 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Finals with another bronze.
Such was their success that they currently sit top of the provisional Olympic Rankings and in October the Brazil Volleyball Federation (CBV) named them as one of the four teams in the running to represent the country at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Even though the coronavirus put their Olympic dreams on hold they remain confident of their chances of success when Tokyo 2020 takes place a year on from its original dates.
“I am very thankful for everything that happened in my career over the last couple of years and everything Ana Patricia and I got to build even if our main goal, which is Tokyo, is still ahead of us," Rebecca said in an interview with the FIVB to mark her birthday in April.
“I feel that every season, every tournament I get more experience and I feel different afterwards. This year I feel more mature than last year and I hope next year it's the same because the Olympics will be right around the corner.”
True to form Rebecca and Ana Patricia began 2020 by winning another gold medal, this time on the Brazil National Tour when they defeated Talita Antunes and Carolina Salgado 2-1 (21-19, 19-21, 15-8) to win gold at Joao Pessoa.
While their other tournaments have been postponed or cancelled, they have been hard at work with their head coach Reis Castro and fitness coach Oliveira Neto to ensure they pick-up where they left off.
For Rebecca, her success in beach volleyball can be traced back to growing up in the beachside city of Fortaleza, but for Ana Patricia it was not such a certainty that the beach would play such an important part in her rise.
Ana Patricia hails from Espinosa, Minas Gerais which is 500-kilometres from the nearest beach, but such is the impact she has made that it would be little surprise if she and Rebecca leave Tokyo 2020 with another medal to add to their collection.
“It was love at first sight, that’s the only way I can define it. When I entered the field, I knew it was the ambiance I wanted,” Ana Patricia said in an interview with the Olympic channel.
“When I started beach volleyball, I had no idea of even the basis of volleyball, but as I had tried other sports, it eased my progression.
“It was really great because I found people very committed to teach me. But it was also difficult because I was obviously behind many other players. But I focused all my energy on it and managed to learn a lot.”