Kronplatz to set new European Tour record for number of nations participating
A total of 36 teams from Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland and Turkey have signed up to play in the men’s and the women’s tournaments in the Italian Alps.
With 23 pairs registering for the men’s tournament, it is expected to be a very strong and interesting competition. The main draw seeding is once again topped by two Polish duos - Michal Matyja/Piotr Janiak and Piotr Groszek/Tomasz Cwiertnia. It remains to be seen whether or not the 2016 King of the Snow and current CEV European Ranking leader Matyja can snatch at least one gold medal on the Tour in 2017.
Slovenia’s Tadej Bozenk/Danijel Pokersnik already did that on home snow in Kranjska Gora, while Russia’s Yury Bogatov/Ruslan Daianov topped the podium at the third stop of the Tour, as well as at the international tournament in Iran. These two pairs will split the third and the fourth seeds in Kronplatz.
Last year’s winner on Italian snow, Germany’s Benedikt Doranth, who won the strong international tournament in Austria two weeks ago as well, is also expected to return to Kronplatz, this time partnering with Julius Hoefer.
The women’s tournament will feature 13 duos, but the battles for the medals are expected to be just as fierce and exciting. European Ranking leaders Anna Dostalova/Michaela Knoblochova from Czechia are coming to claim their 2017 Queens of the Snow title, as they are already unreachable on top of the season’s standings. But they are bound to face some serious opposition in the battle for Kronplatz gold.
One of Germany’s strongest players, Tiana Nicolaus, will be partnering this time with Florentina Buettner for the tournament in the Italian Alps and this pair will be seeded third. The 2016 Queen of the Snow Greta Cicolari will also try to repeat her first place from last year’s tournament on home snow in Italy.
Russia’s Ksenia Khakimzanova, who won silver at the Uludag stop earlier this year, will try to do one better at her second participation in the European Tour. To achieve this goal, she has travelled to Kronplatz with a new partner, Ekaterina Syrtseva – a name well known in international beach volleyball. Syrtseva is already working on a name in snow volleyball as well, as she won gold in her debut in the discipline at the first national championship of Russia just a week ago in Rosa Khutor. Khakimzanova/ Syrtseva will be seeded second in Kronplatz.
“We came to Kronplatz to take the first place,” commented Khakimzanova with self-confidence. “I do not know the teams we will compete against, but I think Katya and I are ready for it. I think snow volleyball is a sport with a great future. Now that it has been officially recognized by our federation, I hope that it will start supporting our teams for the following seasons to help us play at more and more tournaments.”
“I enjoyed the game last week at the Russian championship. It was really a lot of fun,” Syrtseva added. “So when Ksenia asked me to come with her to Italy, I did not think twice, because I want to have as much fun again. I like this sport. I love beach volleyball, and snow volleyball is just like it. I think Kronplatz is a beautiful place and I expect that we have a great tournament here.”
For more detailed information on the European Tour, visit SnowVolleyball.com and the CEV’s dedicated pages.