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Ana Paula to replace Juliana in Olympic beach volleyball
10:27, August 07, 2008

Brazil's Volleyball Confederation announced on Wednesday that beach volleyball player Connely Ana Paula will replace Felisberta Juliana in the Beijing Olympic Games, as the latter is suffering from sharp pains on her right knee and will not be able to play.

Ana Paula is an experienced volleyball player. She played indoor volleyball for Brazil's national team for many years, and was one of the players who won the bronze medal in the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996.

Beijing will be Ana Paula's fourth Olympics. She and her partner Shelda finished eighth in qualifying for the Games, but could not play as rules only allow two pairs per country.

"I was rooting for Juliana. I know the sacrifices athletes go through, but a warrior must be ready for challenges," Ana Paula said in an interview to local sports TV channel Sportv.

Twenty-five-year-old Juliana suffered a serious injury on her right knee's cruciate ligament on June 18, during a Grand Slam match in Paris, and had been wearing knee braces since then.

In July, Juliana and her partner Larissa participated in the last Grand Slam event in Klagenfurt, when Juliana declared she was pain-free.

Juliana and Larissa won the Beach Volleyball Grand Slam in 2005, 2006 and 2007, and were the favorites for the Olympic gold medal.

Brazil has a second pair in the Beijing Games, Renata and Talita.

Ana Paula will arrive in Beijing on Friday morning. She and Larissa will play their first game on Saturday, against Cris and Andrezza, the Brazilians who play for Georgia.


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