Volleyball has long since fallen by the wayside but her rugby only truly became serious in the wake of the 2016 Olympic Games when she was inspired by the Brazilian national teams playing in the sevens competitions.
Rugby Para Todos were gifted a series of tickets to the Games, in turn passing those on to the children who had worked the hardest in training and been in attendance the most, among them Coimbra Cardoso.
“I didn’t see Brazil win but that didn’t matter,” she said. “It made me realize what was possible.”
Two years later, she has represented her country after she was called up for the Canada leg of the World Sevens Series last month as Brazil opted for a mix of experience and youth development.
“When I was called up, at first I didn’t believe it,” she said. “The coach had to say it again. I thought, ‘This isn’t supposed to happen,’ and really I didn’t believe it until I landed in Canada. Then I was like, ‘This is real, this is serious.'”
But she credits her family for such a sporting rise.
“I lived in a favela but my parents both worked so it was never like we went hungry,” she said. “It was a nice life, nothing to complain about.
“In a favela, you can either find people to help you or f— you up, so you have to work hard to get out. It’s hard but it’s not impossible.”
She is hopeful, too, that her own journey will inspire others, her advice simply that, “If you want something, you just go for it.”
It is a philosophy that has held her in good stead and enabled her to pull on the yellow jersey of Brazil.
“I have nerves when I play rugby but to wear the jersey of Brazil, it makes you want to give everything you have,” she said. “That, and rugby as a whole has been such an incentive. It’s changed my life.”
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