A volleyball superstar close to the heart of Filipinos has won a battle in a different arena.
Brazilian Leila Barros, who turned heads during the FIVB Grand Prix held in Manila in August 2000, was recently elected the first female senator in the state Brasilia, her country’s capital.
“Much gratitude for the 467,787 people who trusted me and now I promise to honor with much work each and every one of you,” said Barros in a post on her official Facebook account.
Prior to her election as senator, Barros also served Secretary of State for Sports, Tourism and Leisure in her hometown.
About two decades ago, the 5-foot-10 opposite hitter led the Brazil women’s national team to a bronze finish in the FIVB Grand Prix held in the country.
Her impressive showing in the tournament easily gained the admiration of Filipino fans and inspired young volleyball players during the time when the sport wasn’t as its peak.
Former Ateneo Lady Eagle Charo Soriano was among the throngs of Filipino fans who congratulated Barros.
She said Barros inspired her to play volleyball, which was why she used jersey no. 8 when she played for Ateneo.
The Beach Volleyball Republic founder also hoped Barros’ service will also “inspire many young people to pursue their dreams and make this world a better place for the next generation.”