Russians feel at home playing volleyball in the snow
Yury Bogatov is somewhat of a snow volleyball pioneer as he and partner Ruslan Dayanov are contesting their third international tournament at Kronplatz/ Plan de Corones. The pair have made a name for themselves standing on top of the podium at international events in Iran and Turkey earlier this season.
“I enjoy and like playing on the snow very much,” Bogatov admits. “Actually this is not something totally new to us since I have been practicing on the snow for quite some years, doing so during the winter season while preparing for my beach volleyball campaigns. In Russia and especially in the Moscow Region, where I am based, we play outdoors – and on snow – even when temperatures drop down to -15C or so.”
Yury seems to like cold weather and has a clear mind about the sometimes extremely diverse conditions you can find when playing snow volleyball: “I prefer a hard surface, this accounts for more stability, whereas when the sun comes out and the snow starts kind of melting, it becomes more difficult because you have less control.”
A week ago, Bogatov and Dayanov finished third at the first edition of the Russian Snow Volleyball Championship at Rosa Khutor Alpine Ski Resort, a venue which hosted events of the 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.
“We were not quite happy with that result but the event was really cool and extremely well organised,” Bogatov says. “We initially did not plan to come to Kronplatz and wanted to travel to China for a stop of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, but once we realised we would not make it because of many more Russian teams entering the competition with more ranking points than us, we eventually decided we would come here. The goal is definitely to win a medal – and of course we dream of another gold medal on the European Tour after our first place in Turkey.”
Bogatov likes the venue at Plan de Corones very much and things look promising after the Russians claimed their first win in the tournament edging Austria’s David Steinberger/ Simon Varges 2-0 (18-16, 11-7).
“I think the interest in snow volleyball is growing, not only in Russia,” Bogatov said. “As the sport grows and the tour becomes more structured in terms of ranking points and prize money, I think more beach volleyball players will be willing to try it out. They say that one day this could become an Olympic sport. That would be really cool and I wish I could be a part of that should this happen anytime soon.”