Portugal set to work on development of Beach Volleyball via expansion of its training centres
News from the National Federations
Porto, Portugal, April 12, 2013. The Portuguese Volleyball Federation (FPV) met this week with club officials in order to implement the Beach Volleyball Training Centres for High Performance (CTARVP) whose activities will be joined - in 2013 - by the national teams of all age groups.
Francisco Fidalgo (pictured), the main responsible for the CTARVP, sums up the main goals set for the coming season: “The meeting served mainly for clubs to take notice of the Beach Volleyball project that the FPV intends to implement starting from this season. Since most of the athletes selected are playing for clubs competing in the national championships, we will make sure that our work does not overlap their respective efforts. We will be rather joining the interests of both parts, quite evidently involving also the parents of those players who are still under 18 years of age”.
This year could become a milestone in the work of CTARVP. “We have gone through several stages of evolution and inevitably we want to move to what is making Beach Volleyball work throughout the year. We would like to exploit some weeks after the end of the indoor season as we do know that this can make the difference in laying the foundations for a successful Beach Volleyball campaign. This is a project that aims to continue throughout the summer in order to, starting from next season, continue to work all year around”.
The international competitions remain quite evidently one of the highest priorities. Portugal up-and-coming pairs will play Austria, Liechtenstein and France in Pool D of the CEV Youth Beach Volleyball Continental Cup, i.e. the competition whereby teams will eventually qualify for the 2014 Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China.
“Our training centres do basically train athletes, scout talented players, organize competitions and tournaments, and even a youth circuit; however, this year CTARVP will be also in charge of working with all national teams. They have been subdivided into three groups, i.e. U18, U20 and Senior, and all are set to join international competitions in their respective category. One of our priorities is represented by the U18 age group, especially with the introduction of a qualification process – via the CEV Youth Beach Volleyball Continental Cup – very similar to what was done for the seniors in the lead-up to London 2012. The Drawing of Lots was made some days ago and we know which countries we are going to play. It’s a tough Pool since quite many countries have massively invested in the development of Beach Volleyball in the past few years. One of such countries is Austria that will be hosting our Pool. We will also play Liechtenstein and France. France is known for being a Volleyball heavyweight and sometimes it has produced also interesting Beach Volleyball duos. Right now it looks like they aren’t that strong and so Portugal has got some real chances to make it to the final scheduled for May 2014” Fidalgo continues.
Portugal starts from the good omen provided by the good results recently claimed in a few international competitions, with the real climax being the silver medal won by Joana Neto and Mariana Filipe at the 2010 U18 European Championship in Porto. “The Training Centres have existed for several years and this youth work is arduous and requires continuity; sometimes it does pay off sooner, sometimes later, but we cannot give it up. Rather, we must increase the scope and extend its geographic presence across the country, which has been one of the latest priorities. The success of Mariana Filipe and Joana Neto was extremely important because it did help draw attention on Beach Volleyball here in Portugal for the first time since our best duo, Miguel Maia and Joao Brenha, retired from the competitive arena. Still we have had other pairs who did compete internationally but they did not claim results to be compared to those achieved by Maia/Brenha who were ranked fourth at the Olympics in 2000 and 2004” Fidalgo continues. “We have to start from scratch. At this time, the senior level of international Beach Volleyball is practically inaccessible with a single step. We will have to battle through all the events and we will focus on the Continental Cup, which is a project less difficult to achieve. We hope that our work will bear fruits and that this will help athletes with potential and quality come back and eventually perform on the World Tour. Without participation in international events it is impossible to develop young pairs. We have staged quite many events here in Portugal but did not always succeed in joining international competitions”.
The FPV wants to participate in more events and see some of their athletes play on the World Tour one day. “We have the centre up and running for a long time, always based in the north, where are concentrated most of our athletes, but there is talent across the country and we are sorry for not being able yet to extend our network nationwide. It is very important to have a centre in the southern section of the country, in this case in the Carcavelos beach, with a partnership that involves also the Volleyball Association of Lisbon. This centre ran last year at Caldas da Rainha and we are happy that even the national teams will be able to work and train in that same neighbourhood. With athletes already detected and observed, we will step up the quality of our work and cooperate closely with coaches that we know work well. The geographic scope needs to be further expanded and this will, in the future, remain one of our main objectives”.