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Venezuela tops the pool with swinging beach volleyball at the U19

Venezuela's Tigrito out to better last year's 5th place
Porto, Portugal, August 1, 2014 - Venezuela’s José Gregorio ‘Tigrito’ Gomez and Rolando ‘Peter’ Hernandez won their final pool match on Friday to top the pool with an unbeaten record at the FIVB U19 World Championships in Porto.

The South Americans defeated USA’s top team Torey DeFalco and Louis Richard 2-0 (21-10, 21-10). For Tigrito this was sweet revenge since last year he was knocked out by DeFalco in the quarterfinals of the U19. Tigrito and his partner then, Ronald Fayola, finished 5th and DeFalco ended up with the silver medal.

“We are of course very happy and excited to win the pool and I’m very happy with my teammate also. I want to thank him, my coaches and god as well for these victories”, said 18-year old Tigrito.

The Venezuelans only lost one set in the pool, to Latvia, and they are great ambassadors for swinging South-American beach volleyball. They drove the Americans crazy with excellent block-defence play, incredible digs and swinging moves.

With Peter, Tigrito has an even bigger blocker than last year at his side. Peter, who uses this name as a tribute to his father who was famous volleyball player, has never played in a FIVB event before.

“It is a very tough tournament so far”, he said. “There are such great teams with a very high level of volleyball but we have been working hard and we came here to do everything that we’ve been working on back home and so far it is turning out good for us.”

“Because I didn’t come here last year I have been training and preparing myself for the Youth Olympics in Nanjing”, he continued. Venezuela qualified for this big youth event in August. “And this championship is like a test for us as a team to see where we are and what we need to work on for the Olympics.”

But a medal here in Porto would also be nice, Tigrito said. “Last year I finished fifth but now we want to go further. Getting into the semifinals and possibly reach the final.”

Argentina also wins the pool

\Another team from South-America, besides the ever-present Brazilians, qualified for the second elimination round as pool winners. Argentina’s Daniel Riveira and Ricardo Padilla Rivera defeated France’s Arnaud Loiseau and Arnaud Gauthier-Rat 2-0 (21-19, 21-11) in a direct match for first place in pool C.

The other pool winners are Germany’s Thole/Göbert, Brazil’s Arthur/George Wanderley, Poland’s Lysikowski/Jetke and Russia’s Yarzutkin/Stoyanovskiy.

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