FIVB Beach Volleyball U23 World Championship

Press release

Russia and Venezuela one win away from Rio

Venezuela's Jose 'Tigrito' Gomez (facing) and Peter 'Rolando' Hernandez made it to the semis together with team mates Jesus Villafane and Jackson Henriquez

Sochi, Russia, July 9, 2016 – Russia and Venezuela advanced to the all-deciding semi-finals of the FIVB World Continental Cup by defeating Mexico and China in the quarterfinals on Saturday. On Sunday Russia will meet Belgium and Venezuela plays Canada for a ticket to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Host country Russia delighted the huge home crowd in Sochi, since earlier that day the women also made it to the semifinals. In the evening Youth Olympic champions Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Artem Yarzutkin defeated Mexico’s Juan Revuelta and Ricardo Galindo 2-0 (21-17, 21-18).

Veterans Nikita Liamin (30) and Dmitri Barsouk (36) followed up with an easy 2-0 (21-12, 21-12) versus the silver medallists of the U21 World Championships, Jose Rubio and Josue Gaxiola.

The 2008 Olympian Barsouk (9th place with Igor Kolodinsky) felt very confident going into the quarterfinals. “I think I have enough experience, I was only a little bit nervous before our very first game here in Sochi. After that we were confident and we improved our game from match to match.”

He enjoys the fans that come out every day to see the Russians play in the Sport Inn stadium. “I am originally from this region, Krasnadar, so I know a lot of people here in the stands. But I don’t feel any extra pressure because of that. Maybe when I was young, when I just started my career, there was some pressure, now I am very confident.”

Barsouk and Liamin played their next opponents from Belgium before. “Belgium has only one strong team. We played them in Brazil in very hot conditions, but we won 2-1. But we have to give a hundred percent to win tomorrow.”

Venezuela finished third in a strong pool with five teams earlier on Saturday. In the quarterfinal against the number two of pool B, China, Jesus Villafane and Jackson Henriquez beat Cheng Chen and Jian Bao in a tough three-setter (22-24, 21-16, 15-13).

While Youth Olympics silver medallists Rolando ‘Peter’ Hernandez and Jose ‘Tigrito’ Gomez sealed the deal with a 2-0 (21-19, 21-16) over Jian Li and Zhuoxin Li, ‘captain’ Villafane couldn’t hide his nerves and was pacing up and down next to the court.

“Yes, I was very nervous”, Villafane said. “But we did it.” Villafane is the only player out of the four with Olympic experience. He finished 19th with Igor Hernandez at the 2012 London Olympic Games, when they were the first team to represent Venezuela.

Whoever will go to Rio if they win the semi against Canada on Sunday, is not clear yet. “The coach will decide. But first we have to play Canada. It’s a very good team, we lost 2-0 to them in pool play. But we are in good physical condition. We feel strong.”

The line-up for Sunday’s semifinals:

11.05 Binstock/Schachter (CAN) – Peter/Tigrito (VEN)
12.05 Pedlow/O’Gorman (CAN) – Fane/Henriquez (VEN)
19.05 Stoyanovskiy/Yarzutkin (RUS) – Douwen/Urnaut (BEL)
20.05 Liamin/Barsouk (RUS) – Koekelkoren/Van Walle (BEL)

If needed a golden set will be played till 15 points. The winners of the semifinals earn a berth for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The federation decides which team will go.

Quick links:
FIVB World Continental Cup Olympic Qualification - Website
Men - Results/Schedule
Women - Results/Schedule

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