Two tournaments, four winners, 12 teams on the podiums; if anyone
thought that the 2013 FIVB beach volleyball season would be dull
and predictable, then their presumptions would have been shattered
after the Fuzhou Open and Shanghai Grand Slam launched the
season in spectacular style.
First off was the Fuzhou Open on China’s south-east coast and while
the gold medals went to two sets of players who have been used to
racking up the trophies over the years, the silver and bronze medals
were won by teams who are making names for themselves in the
beach volleyball world.
In the women’s competition there was joy for local fans as China’s
Chen Xue and Zhang Xi won gold, their 13th in either an FIVB Grand
Slam or Open tournament. In the men’s Phil Dalhausser and Sean
Rosenthal may have been playing in their first FIVB tournament as a
pair, but they have both become used to success with their previous
partners – Todd Rogers and Jake Gibb respectively – and duly won
their first FIVB gold medal since teaming up at the end of 2012.
Sean Rosenthal and Phil Dalhausser won their first tournament since
teaming up in late 2012.
Talita and Taiana topped the podium in Shanghai.
If Fuzhou was all about new
challengers continuing to make
their mark, then Shanghai was
dominated by one of the giants
of beach volleyball reasserting
its power.