Moscow, Russia, June 30, 2012 - After months and months of practice, travel, mental preparation and intense competition, the countries who will receive the final two spots in the 24-team field for men’s beach volleyball at the 2012 London Olympic Games will be determined Sunday in Moscow at the at the double-gender 2012 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Cup Olympic Qualification Tournament where two teams from each gender will emerge with spots in the field of 24 for next month’s 2012 London Olympic Games.
Meeting for the last two tickets to London’s Horse Guards Parade on Sunday will be Russia playing against Poland and Austria playing against Mexico Sunday on the Vodny Stadium center court. Russia had a 4-1 record in winning pool A while Poland was 4-1 in finishing second in pool B, Austria was a perfect 5-0 in capturing pool B and Mexico went 4-1 to finish second in pool A.
Competing at Vodny Stadium on the grounds of the Vodny Royal Yacht Club alongside the Moscow River, the 12 countries began play in two men’s pools of six teams each in this unique-format country competition. With countries from the same FIVB Confederations split into separate pools, play will continue through Sunday. The top two national federations per gender from this competition will claim the final two berths to the Games, completing the beach volleyball lineup. After pool play, the top two countries in each pool will playoff in a final showdown for the final two tickets to London.
With the road to London clearly before them, 24 teams representing 12 countries have two men’s teams each in Moscow this week as the men played five rounds of country pool play for two six-country pools before deciding the four teams that have advanced to Sunday’s finals.
Winning pool A, Russia’s Serguei Prokopiev/Konstantin Semenov and Dmitri Barsouk/Yury Bogatov won twice on Saturday, first defeating giving Mexico 2-0 to give Mexico its only loss and then lost with an injury forfeit against Australia. Against Mexico, Russia’s Barsouk/Bogatov defeated Mexico’s Lombardo Ontiveros/Ulises Ontiveros, 21-7, 21-18 in 29 minutes and Prokopiev/Semenov beat Aldo Maramontes/Juan Virgen, 21-19, 21-12 in 41 minutes. Barsouk was forced to forfeit his team’s match against Australia with a minor injury and has been cleared by the tournament doctor to play Sunday.
In the unique-format country competition with two teams from each country competing, Austria completed its perfect record Saturday with a 2-0 victory over China to win pool B. For the Austrians on Saturday, Alexander Huber/Robin Seidl, defeated China’s Wugin Lin 21-13, 21-18 in 34 minutes. Following that victory, Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst capped the Austrian run with a 21-17, 21-18 win in 39 minutes over China’s Jian Li/Shun Zhou.
To advance to the match for an Olympic berth, Poland defeated Angola 2-0 on Saturday to finish second in pool B. In their first match, it was Poland’s Michal Kadziola/Jakub Szalankiewicz defeating Angola’s Eden Sequeira/Marcio Sequeira, 21-16, 21-14 in 34 minutes. In their second victory, it was Poland’s Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak over Angola’s Morais Abreau/Mario Silva, 21-18, 21-12 in 33 minutes.
Mexico’s suprising Juan Virgen/Aldo Miramontes and brothers Lombardo and Ulises Ontiveros finished tied for first with Russia in pool A and was placed second on tie-breaker rules. On Saturday, Mexico lost 0-2 to Russia and then sealed their spot in Sunday’s historic match against Austria with a 2-1 golden set win over Chile. In the first match-up against, Chile won the battle of two brother tandems in three sets with Chile’s Esteban Grimalt/Marco Grimalt defeating Mexico’s Lombardo Ontiveros/Ulises Ontiveros, 21-11, 20-22 and 15-6 in 46 minutes. In the second match-up, Mexico’s Aldo Miramontes/Juan Virgen beat Chile’s Cristobal Martinez/Rodrigo Salinas in straight sets, 21-13, 21-11 in 29 minutes.
For the pairings in the golden set, Chile went with the Grimalt brothers and Mexico switched partners to Lombardo Ontiveros/Virgin as Mexico prevailed 15-13 in 14 minutes to advance to Sunday’s finale for a spot in the Olympics.
Overall, 47 teams representing 17 countries have had two teams each in Moscow this week competing at Vodny Stadium on the grounds of the Royal Yacht Club on the banks the Moscow River.
“We have secured the place in the Sunday match - it's great,” said Russia’s Semenov. “Especially with the bad results we’ve had the past few weeks on the FIVB SWATCH World Tour and CEV Continental Cup Final. It's very important for Russia's men team to get an Olympic spot here at Vodny stadium. So far it’s going well for us. Four wins in the pool - perfect balance. Our rivals were not so easy, but we have two strong duos that helped us win our pool. We couldn’t play against Australia, but I am sure Dmitri will be ready to go against Poland on Sunday.”
Austria’s Alexander Horst was focused and pleased with his the performance of the two teams from his country in Moscow. “We have played very well and very consistently. We are one step away from something that would be an amazing thing for our country, but we know Mexico has played good also so we have to play with great intensity if we want Austria to earn a ticket to London in beach volleyball. This tournament has been a wonderful experience for our teams but our job isn’t finished until tomorrow night.”
Besides the four teams advancing to Sunday’s matches of Olympic proportions, the other teams who earned their place in this special final Olympic qualification tournament and their final records in Moscow were China (3-2), Netherlands (3-2), Australia (2-3), Chile is (2-3), Cuba (2-3), Angola (1-4), and Nigeria (0-5) and Uruguay (0-5).
With the Road to London clearly before them, 47 teams representing 17 countries have had two teams each in Moscow this week in the double gender 2012 FIVB World Cup Olympic Qualification Tournament where two teams from each gender will emerge with spots in the field of 24 for next month’s 2012 London Olympic Games.
Russia entered the tournament as the host nation while all the other men’s teams except Austria qualified as the second and third place finishers at each of the FIVB Continental Cup Finals. Austria qualified as the fourth place team at the Europe Continental Cup as the CEV was previously selected to fill the field due to the need to have an extra team because the host nation (Russia) is competing in the event, hoping as well to earn a place in the upcoming Olympic Games.
With 22 countries having earned spots in the 24-team Olympic field for each gender, the official country nominations for individual teams will be announced on July 9 by the FIVB.
The beach volleyball competition in London will be held in a purpose-built 15,000-seat stadium at the iconic Horse Guards Parade in central London from July 28 through August 9.
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