Germans and Polish
pairs secure honours
in Myslowice
The first FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships
of the year took place earlier in June when Myslowice
in Poland played host to the U23 version – the first of
its kind and the third of the age-group tournaments.
With 32 teams per gender, there were tough match
up s from the start as teams pushed themselves hard
to secure the unique distinction of being the first ever
FIVB U23 world champions.
Poland’s Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak were the
overwhelming favourites for the men’s title. They were
the reigning U21 World Champions and had won
the U19 version in 2010 and they didn’t disappoint a
raucous home crowd, who roared them on to a two-
set victory against Brazil’s Marcio Guadie Ley and Vitor
Gonçalves Felipe.
Germany’s Victoria Bieneck and Isabell Schneider were
in equally dominant mood in the women’s final against
Brazil’s Eduarda Santos Lisbao and Thais Rodrigues
Ferreira, though the South Americans took the match
to three sets.
Canada’s Melissa Humana-Parades and Taylor Pischke
won the women’s bronze, while Lorenz Petutschnig
and Tobias Winter from Austria won bronze in the
men’s tournament. It meant that the
began with representatives of three
of the five confederations standing on the podium at
the end of the tournament.
The tournament also offered places to developing
teams to take part in a major tournament for the first
time and the sides from St Lucia and Kenya were two
of the teams that learned about tournament life in
Myslowice.
The Netherlands’ Madelein Meppelink and Sophie van Gestel, and
Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler of Germany round out the top
four before the first Brazilian pairing of Maria Antonelli and Agatha
Bednarczuk are seeded fifth.
Maria is the form Brazilian player having finished second at the
Corrientes Grand Slam with Agatha before claiming the inaugural
World Cup Final title with Talita da Rocha Antunes.
Talita and Taiana Lima are yet another new pairing who appear to
have been playing for many years, such is their form. Then there are
the European teams who have started to show that they can gate-
crash the traditional Brazil-USA party when in the mood.
Italy’s Marta Menegatti and Greta Cicolari, Spain’s Elsa Baquerizo-
McMillan and Liliana Fernandez-Steiner, and Dutch pair Sanne Keizer
and Marleen van Iersel have all tasted success on the World Tour
and would love nothing more than adding a pair of medals from the
World Championships.
But regardless of who does take gold, silver and bronze, one thing is
for sure. They will have given their all and played some spectacular
beach volleyball to do so.
11