The Tokyo Olympics could be the last opportunity to see London 2012 Olympic champion Fernanda Garay in action after the 34-year-old Brazilian outside hitter announced she will sit out of the next club season to start a family.
Part of the Brazilian national team since 2009, and a two-time medallist at the FIVB Volleyball World Championships (silver in 2010 and bronze in 2014), Garay decided to put her family first after the Tokyo Games, and will take time away from the courts.
“I’ve decided to take a break in my career and focus on starting a family,” she said in a press conference with her club team, Dentil Praia Clube. “I feel more mature and now, at almost 35, I feel it’s the right time to do it.”
What Garay still doesn’t know is if the break will be temporary or permanent. While the veteran outside hitter says she is in good shape and could continue her career at a later stage, she doesn’t know if she will have the motivation to do so.
For now, the only decision she has made is to not compete in the next club season, but a return to the international scene seems unlikely.
“I can’t tell yet if it’s just a break or something more permanent,” she explained. “I really don’t know how it will be after I become a mother. I had the pleasure of playing with some athletes who had kids and I don’t know if I’ll have the same strength they had to be on the road for an entire month without their kids. I don’t rule out the possibility of returning, but that’s not my priority. I want to enjoy my motherhood when it happens and then I’ll see what’s in the future.”
Garay still has a pair of important tournaments to play with the Brazilian national team this year including the 2021 FIVB Volleyball Nations League and the Olympic Games Tokyo 202.
The outside hitter, who helped Praia Clube appear in the finals of the Brazilian Superliga last week, will return to the Brazilian federation's training facility later this week to join the group that is currently preparing for the VNL.
She will join setter Macris Carneiro, middle blockers Ana Carolina ‘Carol’ da Silva and Carol Gattaz and outside hitter Natalia Pereira, who were called up last Friday by head coach Jose Roberto Guimaraes. The roster currently stands at 16 players and other players should be called up in the weeks ahead.
“I was so happy to be selected again,” Garay said during the press conference. “Unfortunately the last quad didn’t end the way we wanted in Rio, so I’ll do all I can to represent Brazil in the best possible way in Tokyo.”
More Volleyball from Brazil:
Brazil announce first call-ups for 2021
2021 FIVB Volleyball Nations League
Olympic Games Tokyo 2020