Eighteen of the 20 men set to compete at the 2022 Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Finals in Doha, Qatar, from January 26-29 have several years of experience at the highest level of international beach volleyball. One exception is Renato Lima.
Young Renato ready to rock at the Beach Pro Tour Finals
The 23-year-old Brazilian will be the youngest player in the men’s field in Doha
Опубликовано 08:30, 19 Jan 2023
Aged 23, the Brazilian will be the youngest male player in action at the Aspire Zone sports complex when he plays with partner Vitor Felipe. More impressive than that, however, is that he will make his appearance at the prestigious event after playing at only 11 professional international events, less than half of the 26 played by 24-year-old Italian Samuele Cottafava, who is the second youngest player in the field.
Renato was one of the revelations of the 2022 Beach Pro Tour season and has emerged as one of the most exciting up-and-coming players in international beach volleyball.
“I’m very happy that we qualified for the Finals,” Renato told Volleyball World. “It’s a sign that we had a great season and a reward for our hard work. The level is going to be incredibly high as only the top teams in the world will be competing, so we have to be ready for it. I might be the youngest player in the tournament, but I feel I’m ready for the challenge.”
Everything he and the 31-year-old Vitor have achieved in 2022 indeed indicates they will be up for the challenge when the tournament begins in Doha. In just their second season as partners, the Brazilians won one medal, made three semifinal appearances and got eight top ten finishes in nine tournaments, making for a quick climb up the FIVB World Rankings.
The two players rose as high as fourth place and are currently ranked eighth. They were in especially great form at the 2022 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships, when they advanced all the way to the gold medal match and took silver in Renato’s first appearance at such an event.
We totally surpassed our expectations. Renato
“We started the year near the bottom, with very few points, and ended it among the top teams in the world," said Renato. "Making it to the World Championship gold medal match was somewhat of a surprise, but we always knew we were capable of doing it. It was the result of our hard work with our coaching staff and it’s a memory I’ll for sure carry for the rest of my life.”
Renato’s individual rise is probably even more impressive. He had a stellar youth career, winning one U19 and two U21 world titles between 2016 and 2019, and following those titles up with a seamless transition to the highest level of the sport.
At the age of 19, Renato won his first FIVB World Tour event, a one-star tournament that he played with his twin brother Rafael in 2019. Two years later, after two unsuccessful attempts to make it out of a qualifier, Vitor and Renato took silver at a four-star event in Itapema, Brazil, which was actually the starting point of their successful run.
“I couldn’t have expected such a quick rise, it all happened in one year basically,” he analysed. “But at the same time, I have dreamt about it since I was a kid and I’ve worked very hard for it, so it certainly didn’t happen by accident.”
Renato and Vitor took the final weeks of 2022 off and returned to the sand in their hometown Joao Pessoa at the start of 2023. The Finals will be their first event after resuming training and, although always confident and positive, the two players are very aware of the challenges they will face in Doha.
The Beach Pro Tour Finals will feature the top teams in the world. The teams qualified for the event include Qatar’s Cherif Younousse/Ahmed Tijan, Norway's Anders Mol/Christian Sørum, the Netherlands’ Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen, Brazil’s Andre Loyola/George Wanderley, Poland’s Michal Bryl/Bartosz Losiak, Italy’s Paolo Nicolai/Samuele Cottafava and Adrian Carambula/Alex Ranghieri, the Czech Republic’s Ondrej Perusic/David Schweiner and Chile’s Marco Grimalt/Esteban Grimalt.
“We always go into tournaments looking for a good result,” Renato explained. “We took a break at the end of 2022 and are still getting back to our best form, so we have to understand that we won’t be in perfect season rhythm and try to do the best we can with what we have now. Regardless of what happens, I’m sure the Finals will be a great learning opportunity for us and will help us to start the 2023 season well-prepared, which will be very important for us.”