Ana Patricia and Duda during one of the first training sessions together (Photo: Raphael Oliveira/@EAZPhoto)

One of the winningest and most successful women’s volleyball programmes in Brazil, Praia Clube will now also be represented on the sand. The Uberlandia-based club has started a beach volleyball programme in 2022 and the new duo of Tokyo Olympians Eduarda ‘Duda’ Lisboa and Ana Patricia Ramos were selected to represent the storied organisation in national and international events.

Announced as partners a few months ago, after they competed at the Tokyo Olympics with different teammates, the two players had their first training sessions together at the end of last week, shortly after the project was announced.

As part of the programme, Duda and Ana Patricia will use the infrastructure provided by the club, which includes 24 sand courts, and will also have access to the club's health department and professionals. Praia will also fund the team’s 12-person coaching staff in a deal that will run at least until the Paris 2024 Games. The club will also soon help to develop U17, U19 and U21 teams.

“It’s a really special moment in my career,” Duda said. “To be back with Ana and have a club like Praia at our side, it’s really motivating. We have set up a great coaching staff led by our coach Lucas Palermo and the atmosphere among us has been great. We’re just getting started, but to be able to begin our project with such great support has been really exciting.”

Duda Praia

Duda and Ana have moved to Uberlandia to fully benefit from Praia's infrastructure (Photo: Raphael Oliveira/@EAZPhoto)

The programme will enable Ana Patricia to return to her home state Minas Gerais after she spent the last five years living in Fortaleza, where she trained and played with Rebecca Silva. The 24-year-old blocker is already looking forward to the team's debut, which should be at a Brazilian Tour event in Saquarema, from February 2-6.

“All we’re thinking about right now is working as hard as we can,” Ana Patricia reflected. “We both had an amazing experience over the last few years and now we want to benefit from it. We know that we can become a great team and that only depends on us. We’re still figuring each other out and taking things lightly, so we can make the most of these early training sessions.”

The project will also benefit a second professional team composed of 26-year-old Taina Bigi and 22-year-old Victoria Lopes, who will share training sessions and the coaching staff with Duda and Ana Patricia.

Praia began their volleyball programme back in 2006 and have since won one Brazilian Superliga and four Brazilian Supercup titles. Also the reigning South American champions, Praia have appeared in the last three editions of the FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship and finished fifth last month in Ankara.