Moscow, Russia, July 1, 2012 - As the sun set on Russia’s Vodny Stadium center court sand, Austria and Russia closed the day by earning the final two men’s country Olympic placements with victories in the double-gender 2012 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Cup Olympic Qualification Tournament in Moscow. Two teams from each gender have emerged with the final spots in the field of 24 for this month’s 2012 London Olympic Games.
Meeting for the last two tickets to London’s Horse Guards Parade on Sunday, Austria defeated Mexico, 2-0 and Russia thrilled its home country fans by beating Poland, 2-0 Austria finished undefeated in the qualification tournament with an unblemished 6-0 record and Russia ended up 5-1 with its victory. Mexico finished 3-3 in the tournament and Poland ended up 4-2.
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.
Once they got used to playing a team they hadn’t met before on the court, Austria’s Alexander Huber/Robin Seidl won the first country match-up late Sunday afternoon in three sets over Mexico’s Lombardo Ontiveros/Ulises Ontiveros, 14-21, 21-12 and 15-7 in 57 minutes. In the deciding third set, Austria jumped out to a 7-0 lead before Mexico got on the board. Austria’s Huber/Seidl have played in 18 events on the FIVB SWATCH World Tour as a team with top finishes of 13th and 17th.
The second country match-up between Austria and Mexico was not as close as Austria’s Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst needed just two sets to overpower Mexico’s Aldo Maramontes/Juan Virgen, 21-17, 21-13 in 36 minutes. Doppler/Horst are both veteran players on the FIVB SWATCH World Tour but have only played five events as a team with a best finish of seventh. Both are Olympians from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games with Horst having finished fifth and Doppler ninth.
With the Russian sun slowly setting, the final country match-up of the tournament between Russia and Poland a two-set victory for Russia’s Dmitri Barsouk/Yury Bogatov over Poland’s Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak, 21-16, 21-16 in 34 minutes. With just five FIVB SWATCH World Tour events together and a 17th-place best finish, Barsouk/Bogatov used the Continental Cup process to advance to the World Cup and a possible spot in the Olympic lineup. Barsouk is an Olympian with a ninth-place finish in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games with Igor Kolodinsky.
In the closing match-up of the tournament, Russia’s Serguei Prokopiev/Konstantin Semenov swept Poland’s Michal Kadziola/Jakub Szalankiewicz in two sets, 21-18, 21-13 in 36 minutes to finalize Russia’s spot in the men’s field for the London Olympics. Prokopiev, 25, and Semenov, 23, are a new pairing for Russia and have played three FIVB SWATCH World Tour events as a team with two ninth-place finishes.
“Our mission is complete, and we are going to the Olympics,” Doppler, a veteran player who has only been teamed with Horst for five FIVB SWATCH World Tour events, said after the Austria/Mexico country match-up. “We didn’t come here as favorites, but we took care of business and worked our way through the Continental Cup process again some great competition.”
“We were undefeated here which helps us to gain more confidence for our future. We had never played Mexico as a team but I had played against them a couple of times before which helped us with our strategy against them. The Olympics are the biggest thing on earth and this is our biggest dream. We have both been to the Olympics before with different partners and if our country selects us we want a medal this time.”
Following the final match of the day, Russia’s happy warrior Semenov commented, “So, the last step has been made - we qualified for the Olympic Games in London. It was a hard day. We had to wait for the game about 12 hours, trained in the morning and couldn't do anything because of the pressure. We played here in Moscow in front of home crowd and just couldn't lose. The first part of the season wasn't so good, with all the injuries my partner had along with some other issues.”
But thanks to the God the ending of all of this was perfect - Olympic license. Big thanks to all of those who came to support us, to the organizers for such a good event. I really love to play in Moscow. We hoped to have good result here, and now we can celebrate a bit. We are so happy right now, you just can’t imagine how it feels.”
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.
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 this past Thursday in this unique-format country competition. Countries from the same FIVB Confederations split into separate pools and the top two national federations per gender from this competition will claim the final two berths to the Games, completing the beach volleyball lineup.
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 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.
With the road to London clearly before them, 24 teams representing 12 countries had 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 advanced to Sunday’s finals.
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.
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