Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 16, 2016 - Brazil and Argentina, two South American countries who traditionally find themselves on opposite sides of the net, saw two of its greatest volleyball players Mauricio Lima and Hugo Conte take to the Copa Courts for a friendly match on Tuesday.
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Brazilian setter Mauricio Lima, gold medallist in Barcelona 1992 and Athens 2004 played against Argentine Hugo Conte, his country’s most celebrated volleyball player and Olympic bronze medallist in Seoul 1988. The Brazilian team won the match 15-10, ahead of Wednesday’s men’s volleyball quarterfinal between Brazil and Argentina.
“We Brazilians admire the Argentinian volleyball players very much,” said Lima. “Throughout our careers, we had challenges and matches. Conte won some matches and I won others. But we are still friends," said Mauricio. "The sport shows and teaches respect for the opponent.”
Hugo Conte maintains a strong connection with the Argentina national team, even till today as his son Facundo will be playing alongside his compatriots at Wednesday evening’s quarterfinal final match at the Maracanazinho.
"We are a family of volleyball players,” said Conte. “My wife Sonia played for eight years on the women's team. We had three children and always encouraged them from very young to play sports. We are very happy that two of them have chosen volleyball and that Facundo plays volleyball, which we love so much, for a living."
The friendly match attracted hundreds of volleyball fans of many nationalities. Tuesday’s match was just one of many activities, which have included clinics and exhibition matches, that have taken place on Copacabana beach since the start of the Olympics on August 5.