FIVB Beach Volelyball World Tour

U21 World Championships, Larnaka 2014 | 23 - 27 juillet 2014


Press release

Year in review: Polish pair rule on Larnaka sands once again, Canada claim first gold at U21 world champs

The medal winners in Larnaka following the conclusion of the FIVB Beach Volleyball U21 World Championships

Lausanne, Switzerland, January 1, 2015 – Age-group beach volleyball returned to Larnaka for the second time in two years as the Cyprus coastal town welcomed the FIVB Beach Volleyball U21 World Championships in July. And, once again, it was Polish tandem Michal Bryl and Kacper Kujawiak who stood top of the podium after the curtain dropped on a fascinating tournament, with Canada’s Sophie Bukovec and Tia Miric taking the women’s title.

It was the 14th edition of the tournament which welcomed more than 100 teams from all five confederations to Cyprus for the six-day competition.

Bryl and Kujawiak dominated the men’s event defeating Russian qualifiers Ilya Leshukov and Aleksandr Margiev 2-0 (21-16, 21-15) on the way to gold. Two years ago they won the U19 World Championships at the same venue, which is now proving to be rich hunting grounds when it comes to beach volleyball crowns for the duo.

“I am so happy now. Winning our second gold is something else, unbelievable”, Kujawiak said.

Celebrating their first medal, Leshukov and Margiev said they weren’t too disappointed with the result. They were also the only team in the final four to come all the way from qualification. “The fact that we had to play more matches, meant that we were more tired compared to the other teams”, Leshukov said. “Also they are both one year older and that also played its part.”

Maxime Thiercy and Romain Di Giantommaso defeated Norway’s Hendrik Mol and Christian Sorum 2-0 (22-20, 21-18) in the bronze medal match. It is the first medal for them and for France in the 13-year history of the U21 World Championships.

Young Canadian pair Bukovec and Miric proved wise beyond their years in the women’s final as the 18 and 17-year old held on to beat Lithuania’s Ieva Dumbauskaite and Monika Povilaityte 2-1 (21-19, 18-21, 15-10) in their first final ever.

They were challenged hard by the Lithuanians, who won gold two years ago in Larnaka at the U19 World Championships.

Their win also got the attention of some of the World Tour’s best players, including Canadian veteran Heather Bansley.

Meanwhile USA’s Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes won their second FIVB bronze medal after finishing third at the U19 World Championships in Porto last year. This time they held off Nina Betschart and Nicole Eiholzer from Switzerland 2-1 (21-16, 21-23, 15-7) to claim bronze and complete the podium.

The competition gave opportunities to many young players to compete at a top-drawer event. This included 13-year old local player Evita Leonidou. Although she was not the youngest participant in FIVB history - that was Hungarian Viktoria Kiss with 13 years, 1 month and 19 days at the U21 in 2006 – she was the youngest player competing in Larnaka.

St Lucia pair Dala Noel and Skye Mondesir also competed and although they didn’t win a match they were happy for the experience.

“Our participation in this tournament counts more to us than our results in the five pool matches we have participated in. We knew from the beginning that all matches would be difficult, as the standard of such games is very high”, said 16-year old Skye.

The drama on the court was sometimes matched off it as well.

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