|Kiev, Ukraine, August 1, 2004 - The third-time was the "charm" for Latvia's Janis Grinbergs as he teamed with Andris Krumins here Saturday to capture the Ukraine Challenge by defeating Jan Schnider and Tino Schutz of Switzerland in the finals.
After finishing third in the 2001 and 2002 Ukraine Challengers with Krumins and Austris Stals, respectively, Grinbergs finally reached the top spot on the podium. Seeded fourth in the competition, Grinbergs and Krumins posted a 15-21, 25-23 and 15-10 win in 54 minutes over the seventh-seeded Schnider and Schutz to share the $4,550 first-place prize. The Swiss split $3,550 for second-place as both teams were posting their best-ever finishes in a FIVB-sanctioned event.
Grinbergs and Krumins advanced to the final with a 21-13 and 21-19 win over third-seeded Oleg Kisselev and Pavel Zabuslayev of Kazakhstan. Schnider and Schutz scored an 18-21, 21-17 and 15-13 win over ninth-seeded Olexander Dyachenko and Oleksiy Kulinich of the Ukraine to earn a spot in the final match. In the bronze medal match, Dyachenko and Kulinich defeated Kisselev and Zabuslayev 21-16, 22-24 and 15-12.
Dyachenko and Kulinich's third-place finish also gave Ukraine its third-straight podium finish in the Kiev event that was won in 2001 and 2002 by teams from Brazil. Dyachenko and Kulinich, who lost to Grinbergs and Krumins 21-19 and 21-16 earlier in the 2004 Kiev stop, had placed seventh and 17th, respectively, in the first two Ukraine events.