Germany, Ukraine and France claim first men’s spots at Youth Olympics
Antalya, Turkey, May 17, 2014 - Similar to the women’s side, the U19 men’s national team of Germany became the first European men’s pair in history to earn a beach volleyball spot at the Youth Olympic Games. Upon defeating Bulgaria in straight sets, Niklas Rudolf / Eric Stadie may now start preparing for the 2014 Games in Nanjing. Also joining them as winners of the first set of second round matches at the men’s 2014 CEV Youth Beach Volleyball Continental Cup Final in Antalya, will be the teams of Ukraine and France.
The German pair completely dominated the first set against Ivailo Ivanov / Dimitar Kalchev. Bulgaria tried to fight back in the second, but Rudolf / Stadie were just far too strong. They took 27 minutes to complete a 2-0 (21-8, 21-15) sweep and celebrate victorious.
“To participate in the Youth Olympics is a great experience for a young team like ours,” Niklas Rudolf said after the match. “There will be a lot of nations and disciplines. We can learn from them. To feel the Olympic spirit is a great opportunity.”
“It is really nice to know that we will be in China this summer,” Eric Stadie agreed. There they know how to celebrate the Games. There will be many good teams and other athletes there, so we will take this opportunity to interact with them.”
It was somewhat harder for Ukraine’s Oleh Plotnytskyi / Illia Kovalov against Lithuania’s Edvinas Vaskelis / Matas Navickas. They also managed to shut out their opponents, but especially in the second set there was a tough battle that went into overtime to shape up the final 2-0 (21-15, 23-21) after 34 minutes of play.
“It is the first time that we play together with my partner and we are very happy,” Oleh Plotnytskyi admitted. “The tournament was very difficult. I do not have words to describe how I feel right now. I always dreamed to participate in the Olympics.”
Following up on their female compatriots’ success, the men’s French team also secured a spot at the Olympics. Arnaud Loiseau / Arnaud Gauthier-Rat managed to overpower the very strong Austrian team of Paul Buchegger / Moritz Bernd Pristauz-Telsnigg in an exciting three-setter, which ended after 53 minutes of play for the final 2-1 (25-23, 18-21, 15-12).
“Our preparation for this Youth Continental Cup Final was really good,” Arnaud Loiseau explained. “And we are very happy for getting the result. Olympics is my dream since when I was very young. For me, it is a dream come true.”
“We cannot imagine being in China, it is amazing,” elated Arnaud Gauthier-Rat exclaimed. “The last match was very tense but we made it.”
Three more tickets to Nanjing will be issued by the second set of matches in the men’s second elimination round.
Click here for photos and more detailed information on the men’s 2014 CEV Youth Beach Volleyball Continental Cup Final.