Lausanne, Switzerland, November 1, 2020 – Brazilian star Fabiana Claudino will miss the next club season after the 35-year-old middle blocker announced she is expecting her first child.
The two-time Olympic champion, who spent the last season playing in Japan with Hisamitsu Springs, shared the news in a post on her Instagram account, alongside her husband Vinicius.
“I’ve been postponing this important decision for quite some time,” she wrote. “I’ve been an athlete since I was 14 and with all the training, traveling and playing for my clubs and the national team, I’ve always pushed my personal wishes to the side. But now is the right time and the best phase of my life is just starting.”
Fabiana played for the Brazilian senior national team between 2003 and 2016, representing the country in four-straight editions of the Olympic Games and winning gold medals at both the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympics. She captained the team for a good portion of that period.
She also competed in three-straight FIVB Volleyball World Championships, winning silver in 2006 and 2010 and bronze in 2014. The star middle blocker helped the Brazil win multiple tournaments over the years, including the 2013 FIVB Volleyblla World Grand Champions Cup, the 2011 Pan-American Games and seven editions of the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix.
Fabiana had announced her international retirement following the Rio 2016 Olympics, but she decided to return to the national team in 2019 in an attempt to make it to her fifth edition of the Games alongside her longtime teammate and friend Sheilla Castro. They were both part of the Brazilian squad that won the South American Championship and finished fourth at the FIVB Volleyball World Cup last year.
Fabiana returned to the Brazilian national team in 2019 after a three-year absence.
The postponement of the Tokyo Games to 2021 pushed the veteran to reassess her plans, and her decision to start a family now will most likely make her unavailable for selection by head coach Jose Roberto Guimaraes next year.
“It's hard knowing we won't have a player as important as she is, but being a mother was the dream of her life and we're all very happy for her," Ze Roberto said in an interview to Brazilian website Globoesporte. "We'll try and find ways for her to help us in some capacity. Maybe watching some training sessions and talking to our players. She's always been loyal to the national team and to our principles, so if we can have her around in some capacity, that will help tremendously."
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