Skarlund postpones farewell after reaching second knockout round
Tarjei Skarlund has been on the FIVB SWATCH World Tour since he made his debut at the Tenerife Open in 1999|
Stare Jablonki, Poland, August 17, 2012 – Norway’s Tarjei Skarlund postponed his farewell to beach volleyball when he and partner Martin Spinnangr won their first knockout round match on Friday to progress to the second knockout round at the Mazury Orlen Grand Slam.
The 34-year-old plans to retire from the FIVB SWATCH World Tour whenever his involvement at Stare Jablonki comes to an end. However, he and Skarlund appeared close to their best as they won twice in their pool on Thursday, then defeated Austria’s Robin Seidl and Alexander Huber 21-14, 21-15 on Friday.
“We are playing and having fun,” Skarlund said. “It has been a fun season and a great way to finish. It is always fun to come here. They are a great audience and understand beach volleyball.
“I’ve been on tour for 12 years and professionally for the last nine. I just think it is time to give some priority to my family and friends.”
Skarlund first appeared on the World Tour at the 1999 Tenerife Open, where he played alongside Kjell-Oue Raheim. He has played alongside Spinnangr since 2008 and their best result was a second place finish in front of the home fans at the 2012 Stavanger Grand Slam.
In 2012 the pair added a bronze medal from the European Championships and then they qualified for the London 2012 Olympic Games via the FIVB Continental Cup. It was Skarlund’s second ever Olympics after he had played at Beijing 2008 alongside Jorre Andre Kjemperud. In London they made it out of their pool before losing in the first knockout round.
“We won the bronze at the European Championships,” Skarlund added. “Then at the Olympics we were ninth. We had the goal of a medal, but it wasn’t normal or abnormal that we finished ninth. It is a good way to end the season and the partnership.”
Poland’s Mariusz Prudel and Grzegorz Fijalek made it straight through to the second knockout out round after they topped their pool with three wins from three. They defeated Huber and Seidl 21-16, 22-20 in their final pool match to give them the rest of the day off before they return for the second knockout round on Saturday. There they will play Russia’s Serguei Prokopiev and Konstantin Semenov.
“We are happy to have got through,” Prudel said. “Some of our play hasn’t been our best, but it is always good to win. Maybe at the start of the second set we lost focus, but we improved by the end. We refocused and played our best game.”
At London 2012 the pair reached the quarterfinals where they lost to eventual silver medallists Emanuel Rego and Alison Cerutti of Brazil. Despite their fatigue from the tournament the packed stands kept them going with their vociferous support.
“People are watching our games, cheering and helping us,” Prudel added. “It is good to be here to show what we can do.”
The Mazury Orlen Grand Slam is the ninth of nine mixed gender tournaments on the 2012 FIVB SWATCH World Tour and the final men’s tournament of the year. The winning side will leave with the largest share from a pot of $300,000 per gender.