Sao Paulo, Brazil, May 11, 2020 – Dani Lins wasn’t a part of Brazil’s national team roster during the 2019 international season, but the setter is working her way back into it. A London 2012 Olympic champion, the 35-year-old veteran feels ready to help the team again after a year away.
Her absence, though, was planned and agreed with head coach Jose 'Zé Roberto' Guimaraes. In February 2018, the setter gave birth to Lara, her first daughter with former Brazil men's national team middle blocker Sidao Santos. And just five months later she was back on the courts playing at the Pan-American Cup.
The year spent away from the international game was used by Lins as an opportunity to heal her back injury, but also to improve her form. Playing in the Brazilian Superliga for Sesi Bauru, the veteran setter feels she made significant improvements in that area and hopes that her play was good enough to earn her a chance with the Brazil team before the Tokyo Olympics, which would be the third of her career as she was also part of the team that finished fifth at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
“The goal during this time was to get my body right so I could work hard in regaining my form with my club to be at my best to help the national team. That’s the level you need to be to compete internationally,” she added. “I’m very satisfied with the results and with how I feel now, so if Zé thinks I can still help, I’d be more than happy to be with them and compete for a spot in the Olympic roster.”
Lins was the starting setter for Brazil during the London 2012 Olympics
That, however, most likely won’t be her last shot at appearing at the Olympics. After having Lara, the setter, who was voted the best in her position at the 2011 and 2014 editions of the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix, found new motivation to extend her career for at least a few more years.
“The plan is to continue playing for another five years,” she revealed. “I still feel very well on the court and as long as I feel I’m in good shape both mentally and physically, I will continue playing. I want my daughter to watch me playing, so that’s something that motivates me to continue going.”
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