Lausanne, Switzerland, October 21, 2019 – Brazilian beach volleyball star Alison Cerutti is one step closer to being in a position to defend the Olympic gold medal he won at the Rio 2016 Games next summer after the Brazilian Volleyball Federation indicated he and his partner Álvaro Filho would fill one of the berths Brazil could earn via the Olympic ranking for the Tokyo 2020 Games. The qualification system
specifies that the 15 highest ranked teams on the Olympic Ranking as of June 15, 2020 will each earn one quota place for their National Olympic Committee (NOC)/National Federation (NF), respecting the maximum of two quota places per NOC/NF.
Alison, who topped the podium on Copacabana with former partner Bruno Oscar Schmidt three years ago, could be working his way towards a third-straight Olympic medal as he also secured a silver in London 2012 with Emanuel Rego on his first appearance at the Games.
Unlike on the two other occasions, however, this time the ‘Mammoth’ has had to deal with a turbulent Olympic cycle, one which he started with Bruno, before switching to 2017 world champion André Loyola and then to 28-year-old Álvaro.
“This was the first Olympic cycle in which things got a little bit out of control for me,” the 33-year-old blocker reflected. “When Álvaro and I joined forces, in March, there was some fear that maybe we wouldn’t qualify, but once we started to know each other better and to progress as a team, this fear started to dissipate. It was hard, but it was easily the Olympic quad in which I matured the most.”
Alison and Álvaro’s task was, indeed, a complex one. With the Brazilian Federation running an internal qualification system which considers the best ten finishes secured at four- and five-star World Tour events between February 2019 and February 2020, as well as the 2019 World Championships, they had no time for adjustments and needed to deliver results immediately.
Alison and Bruno (centre) celebrate winning gold at the Rio 2016 Olympics
“We knew we had no room for mistakes,” Alison added. “Our motivation was sky-high from the start, but at times it was tough for us to deal with the obvious limitations a new team would obviously have. We knew what we had to do, but we just weren’t able to. We kept our heads down, continued working with the help of our coaching staff and remained confident things would change for us.”
Until they did. After failing to break into the semifinals of their first seven four- and five-star World Tour events together, the Brazilians topped the podium in Espinho in July. After that finish, they had three consecutive semifinal appearances, including a pair of silver medals that were crucial for their positioning at the top of the Brazilian internal ranking and took third place in the world rankings.
“After the first podium, we had a good run of form and it was great to see our work paying off in a very important moment of the season,” Alison explained. “It was all very intense because a lot happened in such a short period of time, but we managed to control our positive and negative feelings and trust our work and keep our goal in mind at all times.”
One step closer to Tokyo, Alison and Álvaro now have a few more months to refine their game be in a good position to fight for what could be the blocker’s third Olympic medal in as many appearances in the Games.
“Now we’re starting a new planning for our team,” the Olympic champion revealed. “We have ten months until the Games and that’s enough time for us to prepare as well as we need. Our first goal was to secure this spot and now what we want is to make sure we do everything we can so we can play at our best next year.”Quick links - Beach volleyball: