Valencia, Venezuela, June 3, 2012 – Venezuela became the second country to book a spot in the men’s beach volleyball competition of the 2012 London Olympic Games after winning the CSV Continental Cup with a 4:0 win over Chile in the final on Sunday in Valencia, Venezuela.
The four victories of Igor Hernández/Jesús Villafañez and Jackson Henriquez/Farid Mussa over Marco Grimalt/Esteban Grimalt and Cristobal Martinez/Rodrigo Salinas saw Venezuela qualify in beach volleyball for the Olympic Games for the first time in its history to join South Africa, who won the CAVB Continental Cup. Venezuela’s men’s and women’s volleyball teams qualified for the Olympics for the first time in 2008.
“We are very happy obtaining the Olympic dream, we do not have enough words to say thank you for such happiness, everything was possible thanks to our support team, the coaches, our teammates and everyone that believed in us,” Hernández said. “After so many years preparing ourselves, working hard in all our training, the support of our families, the international experience and the concentration made possible that our country for the first time participates in beach volleyball at the Olympic Games.”
For Chile, they have the consolation of participating in the FIVB World Cup Olympic Qualification Tournament, which has on offer two more Olympic tickets.
Venezuela started the four-match final on Saturday with two victories as Hernandez/Villafañe (VEN1) beat Martinez/Salinas (CHI2) 2-0 (21-9, 21-15) and Henriquez/Mussa (VEN2) overcame Grimalt/Grimalt (CHI1) 2-0 (21- 18, 21- 16).
Sunday saw Venezuela seal their Olympic spot with Hernandez/Villafañe beating Grimalt/Grimalt 2-0 (21-17, 21-9) and Henriquez/Mussa proving too good for Martinez/Salinas (21-9, 21-14).
Venezuela had a clear lead over Chile after Saturday thanks to their superior defence and blocking that did not allow Chile any chance in the 42 degree heat, which the hosts were accustomed to.
Following Venezuela’s two victories on Saturday, the party with 2,500 fans that packed the Bicentenario Naguana Complex from early morning only wanted more reasons to party on Sunday and the third match provided just that. Equal up to the middle of the first set, Hernandez/Villafañe then took the lead thanks to their superior fitness in the high temperatures. The second set was a lot easier allowing the fans plenty of time to celebrate.