red on court for the first time

in F r e i s t i l 12.10.2018 10:33
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by Michael Place

RIO DE JANEIRO, July 29 (Xinhua) -- While declining to reveal a specific medal target, the Brazilian Olympic committee has made no secret of its desire to finish in the top 10 at the Rio Games.

Brazil won a record 17 medals at the London 2012 Olympics, including three gold. This time around, buoyed by its home support, the South American nation is hoping to do even better. Xinhua takes a look at the country's top medal prospects at the Aug. 5-21 Games.

Women's volleyball

Brazil's women's volleyball team is aiming for its third straight Olympic gold medal in Rio. The hosts have been drawn alongside Russia, Japan, South Korea, Argentina and Cameroon in the first phase of the tournament. The clash with Russia will be eagerly awaited given the rivalry between the teams in recent years. Brazil eliminated Russia in the quarterfinals of the London 2012 Games, turning around their semifinal defeat at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Men's beach volleyball

Alison Cerutti and Bruno Schmidt are considered by many to be Brazil's best gold medal hope in Rio. They are the current world champions and lead the world rankings. Schmidt, who will be making his Olympics debut, was also ranked the top player in the world last year. Alison won the silver medal at the London 2012 Games alongside Emanuel Rego. The duo will start their Rio 2016 campaign against Canada's Josh Binstock and Sam Schachter on Aug. 6.

Women's beach volleyball

Larissa Fran?a and Talita Antunes are favorites in the women's competition, having won four of five FIVB world tour matches this season. Their most recent success was a 2-0 (21-18, 21-14) victory over US rivals April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings. The hosts will also be represented in the women's draw by No. 2 ranked Barbara Seixas and Agatha Bednarczuk, who were voted Team of the Year over their compatriots in 2015 by virtue of winning more points.

Men's volleyball

Brazil have fallen desperately short of glory in the men's volleyball at the past two Olympics games, with silver medals in London and Beijing. They enter these games as the world's top ranked team and they are firm favorites to win their first Olympic gold medal since the 2004 Games in Athens. The hosts' opening match will be on Aug. 7 against Mexico, who are competing in their first Olympics since 1968.


Isaquias Queiroz and Erlon Souza will be favorites in the men's C2 1000m event after becoming the first Brazilian team to win world championship title last year. Among their rivals are Hungarian duo Henrik Vasbanyai and Robert Mike, and Polish pair Piotr Kuleta and Marcin Grzybowski.


Local sailors Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze are widely tipped to take gold in the 49er FX class, which will be making its Olympic debut in Rio. The pair were world champions in 2014 and reinforced the Olympic credentials by winning the Rio 2016 test event last year. Grael and Kunze are aiming to be the first Brazilian women to win an Olympic sailing medal. The country's men have had 17 podium finishes at past Games, including six gold medals. Grael is the daughter of two-time Olympic champion Torben Grael while Kunze is the daughter of former penguin class world champion Claudio Kunze.


While the rest of their teammates are already in Rio, Arthur Zanetti and Diego Hypolito have opted to remain in Sao Caetano do Sul, near Sao Paulo, until next week. According to Brazil's gymnastics coach Marcos Goto, the decision was made to shield the pair from the distractions of the athletes village and allow them to focus on their specific training needs. Dual world champion Hypolito will be one of the top hopes in the floor exercise while Zanetti will defend the rings gold medal he won in London four years ago.


Of all the Brazilian athletes competing at these Games, perhaps none will face as much pressure to succeed as the country's football team. Despite having won a record five World Cups, Brazil have never won an Olympic gold medal in the sport. This is surely there best chance yet, and not just because they are playing at home. Brazil will be led by talismanic Barcelona forward Neymar, who will lead a front line that also includes teenage sensations Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Jesus. The squad also includes Barcelona midfield Rafinha, Paris Saint-Germain centre-back Marquinhos and Lazio playmaker Felipe Anderson.

Others to keep any eye on are: Mayra Aguiar (judo), Felipe Wu (shooting), Evandro and Pedro Solberg (beach volleyball), Robson Conceicao (boxing), Aline Ferreira da Silva (wrestling), Ana Marcela Cunha (open water marathon), Joao Luiz Gomes (swimming), Victor Penalber (judo), Sarah Menezes (judo) and Erika Miranda (judo).

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