Halifax, Canada, September 3, 2011 – The fury of serves, digs, kills and blocks has built to a crescendo following Saturday’s men’s quarterfinals and semifinals as medal matches at the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch Junior World Championships for players under the age of 21 will feature teams from four different countries.
In the gold medal match, Poland will meet Ukraine and teams from Canada and Brazil will battle for the bronze medal. This year’s 11th annual double-gender event started Wednesday in Halifax, a regional municipality of over 300,000 residents located in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia on the east coast of Canada.
The world championship event is being held through Sunday at the purpose-built beach volleyball complex on the Salter Lot of the Halifax Waterfront alongside the picturesque Halifax Harbor, the second largest natural harbor in the world. This is the first time in the event’s 11-year history that it is being held in North America. The event features live video streaming from the SEA center court at www.sandjamhalifax.ca.
The medal matches for each gender will be played on Sunday on the SEA center court stadium starting at noon with the women’s bronze medal match. Ticket information is available through the event website at www.sandjamhalifax.ca and they are on sale at the gate. Children, five and under, are free. Gathered in Halifax for this year’s event have been 59 teams (28 men and 31 women) from 24 countries.
Meeting for the Halifax men’s gold will Poland’s Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak facing Ukraine’s 20th-seeded Sergiy Popov/Valeriy Samoday. The Halifax bronze medal match will be between host country Canada’s top-seeded Dany Demyanenko/Garrett May and Brazil’s second-seeded Marcus Carvalhaes/Vitor Felipe.
In Saturday afternoon’s semifinals, under amazingly blue skies reflecting even more of the glorious sunshine that has bathed the SEA complex this week in Halifax, the competition in the SEA center court stadium, which was filled to overflowing with over 2,000 enthusiastic fans, was as intense as the blazing Canadian sun.
Determining the medal matches for Sunday afternoon, the powerful men’s semifinals saw Poland’s Kantor/Losiak topple Canada’s Demyanenko/May in two sets, 21-17, 21-16 in 38 minutes and Ukraine’s 20th-seeded Sergiy Popov/Valeriy Samoday defeat Brazil’s second-seeded Marcus Carvalhaes/Vitor Felipe, 21-17, 21-12 in 39 minutes
Poland has its fourth men’s team in the final four of the FIVB Swatch Junior World Championships as well as their third in the gold medal match where they have a 1-1 record. Ukraine is making its first men’s final four appearance in the 11-year history of this event.
Canada has a team in the men’s final four of this event for the second straight year as May and Sam Schachter won the gold last year in Alanya, Turkey. Brazil has a men’s team in the final four for an event-record ninth time.
Poland’s Kantor/Losiak is now 6-0 in this tournament with five of their wins lasting just two sets. Ukraine’s Popov/Samoday enter Sunday’s finale with an undefeated 6-0 record in Halifax as well.
Taking charge midway through the first set of Saturday’s first men’s semifinal, Poland’s Kantor/Losiak, who won the 2010 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch Youth World Championships for players under 19 in Porto, Portugal, methodically pulled ahead and then stayed ahead in the second set for their semifinal win over Canada’s Demyanenko/May, who gallantly attempted to keep it close in front of the massive crowd and cheered strongly for their fellow Canadians.
In control in both sets Saturday, Ukraine’s Popov/Samoday defeated Brazil’s Carvalhaes/Felipe for the second time this summer, defeating them in China in the bronze medal match of the University Games. In Saturday’s matchup, The Ukranians, who won the 2009 FIVB Swatch Youth World Championships in Alanya, Turkey, have marched through the field in Halifax, winning all six of their matches in two sets each.
“We don’t get to play many international tournaments so we are greatly motivated when we come to these FIVB youth world championships,” said Samoday, 20. “We played better in this match then we did when we beat them at the University Games in China earlier this summer. In China, we had just resumed training again and it was our first international event of the year. We changed our strategy for today’s match and it helped us a lot because they are both very good players and a strong team.”
In the bronze medal match, Canada’s Demyanenko/May has a 4-2 record in Halifax. Brazil’s Carvalhaes/Felipe are also 4-2 in this event.
In Saturday’s men’s quarterfinals that all ended in two sets, Brazil’s Felipe/Carvalhaes stopped Latvia’s 24th-seeded Abolins Armands/Haralds Regza, 21-16, 21-14 and 34 minutes, Ukraine’s Popov/Samoday topped Switzerland’s 10th-seeded Mirco Gerson/Garbriel Kissling, 21-13, 23-21 in 34 minutes, Poland’s Kantor/Losiak eliminated Canada’s sixth-seeded Fiodar Kazhamiaka/William Sidgwick, 21-16, 21-12 in 29 minutes and Canada’s Demyanenko/May swept Russia’s fourth-seeded Andrey Bolgov/Ruslan Bykanov, 21-19, 21-19 in 41 minutes.
The quarterfinal losers officially receive fifth place finishes in the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch Junior World Championships.
The gold medal team in each gender will also be rewarded by the FIVB and the respective organizers with wild cards and free transportation to take part in the main draw of a FIVB Swatch World Tour event in 2011 or 2012. A total of 2,000 tons of special sand were transported by truck to the SEA complex to build the four competition and two practice courts for the venue, which includes the 2,000-seat featured SEA center court.
An IMG television crew is also on-site to produce special segments for both genders to air internationally on the FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour highlight shows to air later this fall.
A founding province of Canada, Nova Scotia is nearly surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, and is known for its high tides, lobster, fish, blueberries and apples. Halifax was the site of the first British town in Canada, founded in 1749. Since then, the area has evolved to be home for charming fishing villages, farming communities and Atlantic Canada's largest city. Halifax, the gateway to Atlantic Canada, has flourished as a prominent port city. Halifax was founded in 1749 by Governor Edward Cornwallis and 2,500 settlers to act as a naval and army base to protect the area, creating Canada’s first permanent British town on the world’s second-largest natural harbor. The peninsula, which Halifax is located on, is 4.5 miles wide and two miles long.
Produced by Canada’s Sports and Entertainment Atlantic (SEA) in association with the Canadian Volleyball Federation and under the sanction of the Lausanne, Switzerland-based Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB), more event information is available at www.fivb.org or www.sandjamhalifax.ca. The event also has a special Nova Scotia web cam link showing the entire venue at www.novascotiawebcams.com/halifax/sands-at-salter.html.