The last piece of Brazil’s 2021 FIVB Volleyball Nations League roster was added earlier this week when star outside hitter Gabriela ‘Gabi’ Guimaraes joined the group of players that are working under the guidance of three-time Olympic champion coach Jose Roberto Guimaraes in Saquarema.
Gabi: We will fight for the medals
The outside hitter joins the Brazilian squad and prepares for the VNL
Published 02:24, 13 May 2021
With the arrival of the 27-year-old Gabi, Brazil now have 18 players preparing for the international season, which will also include the Tokyo Olympics.
“It’s great to be with the team,” Gabi commented. “This will be a special season for us with the VNL and the Olympics. The first training sessions were really good and I could feel a great atmosphere within the team. We’re looking forward to competing in the VNL as it will be great preparation for the Olympics.”
Gabi arrived later than her teammates in Saquarema because her club, Turkey’s Vakifbank, advanced all the way to the gold medal match of the 2020-2021 CEV Champions League and played their last match on May 1.
Despite the quick turnaround and limited time to rest, Gabi, who won both the Turkish League and the Turkish Cup with the club, feels like she’s in great form for the start of the international season with the VNL opening matches set for May 25.
“I feel that I’m in much better form now than I was one year ago,” she commented. “Since we had a long break last year, I was able to work really hard in the pre-season with my club, prepare physically and mentally and plan ahead for the international season. I got to play in a lot of high level matches with Vakifbank too and that helped me prepare.”
Ranked third in the FIVB World Rankings, Brazil have made it to the semifinals of the 2018 VNL and took the silver medal in the 2019 edition of the tournament. The South Americans expect to continue among the medal contenders in the event and also to carry a good momentum to the Olympics, where they will try to return to the podium after finishing fifth at the Rio 2016 Games.
“I don’t think we’re the favourites as we used to be a few years ago, but we have all the conditions to be on the podium and even to fight for the gold medals,” she added. “We had to deal with some injuries over these last few years and that didn’t give us the chance to train and play with the core of the team, and that reflected on our most recent results. But now everybody is healthy and coming from a good club season, so we’ll fight for the medals, for sure.”
Brazil’s first match in the VNL, which will take place in Rimini, Italy in a secure 'bubble', will be against Canada, who will make their first appearance in the tournament, on May 25.
The team will have a noticeable absence in star outside hitter and team captain Natalia Pereira, as she injured a finger in her left hand during a training session in Saquarema. Natalia underwent surgery last weekend and is expected to be cleared to play in the second week of the tournament.
Brazil’s 2021 roster
Macris Carneiro, Dani Lins, Roberta Ratzke
Tandara Caixeta, Sheilla Castro, Lorenne Teixeira
Gabi Guimaraes, Natalia Pereira, Fernanda Garay, Ana Cristina Souza, Rosamaria Montibeller
Ana Carolina da Silva, Adenizia Ferreira, Ana Beatriz Correa, Carol Gattaz, Mayany Souza
Camila Brait, Nyeme Costa