It was an emotional and successful farewell for Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda ‘Duda’ Lisboa as the Brazilians ended their five-year partnership at the top of the podium of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour four-star event in Itapema on Sunday.
In their final match together, the Tokyo Olympians and world ranking leaders defeated compatriots Taiana Lima and Hegeile ‘Hege’ Almeida in the two-set (25-23, 21-13) gold medal match that was a delight for the Brazilian fans who were at the Meia Praia Beach.
“I’m very happy that we could end our partnership like this,” Duda said. “It was our last tournament together and we wanted to finish strong. It was the perfect ending for our team. Agatha was really important today, she was always communicating and that helped us make the adjustments we needed.”
With their victory in their final event together, the 38-year-old Agatha and the 23-year-old Duda ended their time together with 23 medals won in 42 international events. Among those medals were eight golds, with their most notable victories taking place at the 2018 World Tour Finals in Hamburg and the 2019 Olympic test event in Tokyo. They also won 15 events on the Brazilian Tour and were the national champions in the 2020-2021 season.
“Our partnership started with a gold medal on the Brazilian Tour and we really wanted it to end with one as well,” Agatha reacted. “We were really solid, I felt that when one of us was struggling a little bit, the other was doing well, so we were always in the game. And our side-out was always on, which helped too. It’s a very special day for our team as it’s the last time we play together. To get to do it here in Itapema in front of these amazing fans was spectacular.”
While Duda has already announced she’ll be pairing with fellow Tokyo Olympian Ana Patricia Ramos for the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour in 2022, Agatha is yet to pick a partner. She confirmed after the Itapema gold medal match she’ll continue playing, but is still looking at potential teammates.
Americans Terese Cannon and Sara Hughes avoided an all-Brazilian podium with their three-set (9-21, 21-18, 15-9) bronze medal victory over Taina Bigi and Victoria Lopes.
It was Cannon’s fourth World Tour medal (and the first in a four-star) and Hughes’ sixth. The 26-year-old defender returned to the podium in an event of this level for the first time since October 2018, when she took bronze in Yangzhou with former partner Summer Ross.
“I think we just refocused,” Cannon said of their comeback. “We cleaned up a couple of things on our side and just stayed aggressive. We were playing in front of the best fans in the world and we wanted to put on a show, we wanted to go to three. We’re excited for a little bit of an off-season now, it’s been a pretty long season. This was a really good way to cap it off, with a bronze medal, and we’re really excited for the future.”
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour - Itapema
Olympic Games Tokyo 2020