Archery's Neymar' eager to hit Rio Games target

Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:46am EDT
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By Andrew Downie

MARICA (Reuters) - He has already been dubbed "Archery’s Neymar" and now 17-year-old Marcus Vinicius D'Almeida is being tipped to be one of Brazil's top medal prospects at next year's Rio Olympics.

D'Almeida shot to fame in archery circles last year when he finished second in the archery World Cup final aged just 16.

Already the youngest person ever to qualify for the competition, D'Almeida stunned onlookers by taking twice champion Brady Ellison to a shootout, where he lost by one arrow.

"Everything I do now is geared towards the Olympics," said the timid but self-assured D'Almeida. "My dream is a gold medal, I think all Brazilian athletes dream of that. We work hard every day to see what we can do about it."

His first coach, Dirma dos Santos, said D'Almeida made no immediate impression on her when he turned up in 2010 but he is a classic example of how dedication and hard work can pay off.

"I could see he had perseverance," she said. "He wanted to always improve his technique. When I told him he had a chance to be in the national side he improved leaps and bounds. He was in the Brazil team aged just 14.

"His main quality is that he works very hard. He never missed a training session."

D'Almeida has yet to finish high school and he still competes against opponents as young as 10 at the Brazilian Archery Confederation's training center, where he first picked up a bow and arrow.   Continued...

Marcus Vinicius D'Almeida, 17, shoots during an archery match at the Brazilian Archery Confederation in Marica, near Rio de Janeiro, March 21, 2015. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes