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ISFGirlPower campaign travels to Brazil today, where we meet an Olympian, a beach volleyball star and a former ISF athlete Brazil's Eduarda dos Santos Lisboa, known in volleyball as Duda.
She has had a long road since ISF School World Championships, expanding her success at ISF events first to winning gold medal in Nanjing Youth Olympic Games in 2014. She recently has fulfilled her dream of a lifetime and qualified for Tokyo2020.
It is her mother who is her greatest inspiration in life who encouraged her to take up volleyball when Duda was little,
"I started in the sport because of my mother who is a former athlete and stopped at the age of 40 and who always took me to watch her games since I was young. At the age of 9, I started playing volleyball at her school and never stopped. had a great influence from my mother, my family always encouraged me. I admire my mother very much, she was always a warrior. She is a person who has fought hard to achieve her goals. My mom inspires me every day. She will always be my inspiration."
However, success did not happen that easy, and big sacrifices were made in order to achieve her goal of becoming a professional athlete,
"The challenge of being a beach volleyball athlete made me have to put my "youth" aside. I had to reconcile study with training, the school also supported me and made it possible for me to take the tests. At the age of eighteen I came to Rio de Janeiro and had a big change leaving my mother who was my coach to come to a process of playing in the Olympic Games. This change was difficult, but I conquered and realized the dream of participating in the Olympic Games."
She speaks of her ISF World School Championships experience with nostalgy,
I participated in the first school world championship in 2013 in Manfredonia, Italy. It was an incredible experience. In 2015, I played at the world championship in Aracaju, I had a lot of fun because I was in my city and my friends were present. It is amazing to have contact with the culture of other countries.
A very cool memory was that in addition to the tournament itself, the opening ceremony with flags, the humns of various countries, typical foods and dances were very interesting."
Just like for any professional athlete, her biggest dream and goal has always been the Olympics,
"My dream has always been to reach the Olympics. My dream is to be an Olympic champion. There are several obstacles on the way but I know that by fighting I can have this chance!
She emphasized the importance of giving equal opportunities for women in sport,
"I think women are fighting for a very equal world today, without inequality. In sports, we are fighting for our dreams, we are not giving up, this is very important. Women are going with all their power, doing their best. That's what matters!"
Duda thinks that her ISF experience was important for reaching her Olympic dreams,
"My partner Agata and I qualified for Tokyo 2020 and we were very happy because we have been in this partnership for four years and it has always been the focus of Tokyo 2020. The school world champions have always contributed to this new Tokyo 2020 experience."
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