One of the most successful Brazilian women's beach volleyball teams of the last 15 years is back together as veterans Talita Antunes and Maria Elisa Antonelli announced they will be sharing the same side of the court again in 2021.
The 38-year-old Talita and the 36-year-old Maria Elisa were partners for the first time between 2009 and 2012 and represented their country at the London Olympics. Talita was most recently playing with Carolina Solberg, who was also Maria Elisa’s last partner before she took the 2020 season off due to the birth of her first son, Lucca.
In their four seasons as partners, the Brazilians played in 51 international tournaments together, winning eight gold medals, six silver and 11 bronzes. The highlights of their partnership were the bronze medal they won at the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship, their ninth-place finish at the London Games and their Brazilian Circuit title in 2009.
“We are both more mature and stronger now and I believe that will make a difference,” Talita, a three-time Olympian, told website Globo Esporte about the reunion. “We have the best expectations; we already know we have good chemistry and are a good fit as a team and that’s exciting.”
For Maria Elisa, who gave birth to Lucca only five months ago, the possibility of having a familiar face by her side while she returns to the be sport was a no-brainer.
“I restarted training as soon as I could, but I didn’t expect I’d be back competing that quickly,” she reflected. “When I heard Talita and Carol wouldn’t continue together, I reached out and told her I was ready to go because up to that point I hadn't even started looking for a partner. We talked, aligned our ideas and decided to get back together.”
The veterans are expected to play their first tournament together from January 20-24, when the Brazilian Circuit will continue its 2020-2021 season in Saquarema.
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