Russia, Italy and Netherlands women still unbeaten at 3-0 at 2012 FIVB World Cup Olympic Qualification Tournament
Moscow, Russia, June 29, 2012—Teams from host country Russia, Italy and the Netherlands remain unbeaten after Friday’s two rounds of women’s country pool play wins Friday during the second day of the double-gender 2012 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Cup Olympic Qualification Tournament where two teams from each gender will emerge with spots in the field of 24 for next month’s 2012 London Olympic Games.
With the road to London clearly before them, 22 teams representing 11 countries have two women’s teams each in Moscow this week as the women played the first round of pool play for two pools, one with six countries and one with five.
Three European teams won twice on Friday at Moscow’s Vodny Stadium as Russia’s teams defeated teams from Mozambique and Kazakhstan 2-0, Italy beat Kenya, 2-0 and needed a another golden set win to defeat China 2-1, while Netherlands toppled both Venezuela and Mexico, 2-0.
Overall 47 teams representing 17 countries have two teams each in Moscow this week competing at Vodny Stadium on the grounds of the Royal Yacht Club on the banks the Moscow River,
In this unique-format country competition, with countries from the same FIVB Confederations split into separate pools, play will continue through Sunday. The top two national federations per gender from this competition will claim the final two berths to the Games, completing the beach volleyball lineup. After pool play, the top two countries in each gender will playoff in a final showdown early Sunday evening for the final two tickets to London.
Russia entered the tournament as the host nation while all the other teams except Italy qualified as the second and third place finishers at each of the FIVB Continental Cup Finals. Italy qualified as the fourth place team at the Europe Continental Cup as the CEV was previously selected to fill the field due to the need to have an extra team because the host nation (Russia) is competing in the event, hoping as well to earn a place in the upcoming Olympic Games.
In the Russia vs. Kazakhstan country match-up, Russia’s Maria Bratkova/Svetlana Popova started the final match-up of the day on the Vodny center court with a two-set win over Kazakhstan’s Lyubov Bogatu/Bakhtygul Samalikova, XXXXX in XX minutes. Russia’s Anastasia Vasina/Anna Vozakova backed that victory up with a two-set win over Kazakhstan’s Tatyana Mashkova/Irina Tsimbalova, XXXX in XX minutes. In their first match-up of the day, Russia’s Vasina/Vozakova won by forfeit over Mozambique’s Guilheremina Cossa/Satira Chongo and Bratkova/Svetlana won over Amelia Cumbi/Rezia Cumbi, 21-7, 21-4 in 20 minutes.
After needing a golden set Thursday for their first victory, Italy on Friday won 2-0 over Kenya and survived another 2-1 golden set to beat China. In one of only two required tie-break golden set matches in women’s play Friday, Italy’s Daniela Gioria/Giulia Momoli came from behind and went to overtime to defeat China’s Wang Fang/Yuan Yue, 15-13. The golden set was required following a split between the countries in their two matches. Gioria/Momoli won their match in two sets over Yuanyuan Ma/Changning Zhang, 21-17, 22-20 in 40 minutes after compatriots Laura Giombini/Viktoria Orsi Toth had lost to China’s Fang/Yue in three sets, 21-17, 18-21 and 15-6 in 49 minutes.
After its second golden set victory for their country in this event, Italy’s emotional Gioria said, “It’s very emotional to play in these Continental Cup tournaments and this World Cup, especially golden sets. With everything at stake, every ball is important in all matches, but at this event it’s even more important. The difference for us against China was we sided out just a little bit better and it got us the victory.”
The other team that won twice Friday after winning its first pool play matches for its country on Thursday was Netherlands’ Medelein Meppelink/Sophie van Gestel and Rimke Braakman/Michelle Stiekema.
“We didn’t have our best start here in Moscow last week with our sad defeat at the CEV Continental Cup final,” said Meppelink. “It's a rather good venue here at Vodniy Stadium. I'm happy that we were able to finish the match against Mexico in two sets. It's very good for us and for the play-off qualification. Tomorrow we will meet Russia and it will be a special battle, last week we were close to the victory, but couldn't finish it. Now, I hope, it will be better. Anyway, our goal is to get an Olympic berth.”
Mexico has a 2-1 record after Friday’s play. With 1-1 records are China, Switzerland and Uruguay while Venezuela is 1-2 and standing 0-3 are Kazakhstan, Kenya and Mozambique.
In Sunday’s finale, the top team from Pool A will play the second place team from Pool B and first from Pool B will meet second from Pool A in each gender with the two winning nations earning qualifying spots for the Olympics. In Pool A for the women are double-tandems from China, Kenya, Uruguay, Italy and Switzerland, while Pool B has teams from Kazakhstan, Mozambique, Venezuela, Russia, Mexico and the Netherlands. Countries with two teams each in both the men and women’s competition are China, Netherlands, Mexico, Russia and Uruguay.
With 22 countries having earned spots in the 24-team Olympic field for each gender, the official country nominations for individual teams will be announced on July 9 by the FIVB.
The beach volleyball competition in the 2012 London Olympic Games will be held in a purpose-built 15,000-seat stadium at the iconic Horse Guards Parade in central London from July 28 through August 9.
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