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Review 2013 – Brazil sweep the board in Beach Volleyball World Cup

Brazil's Talita da Rocha Antunes dives for a save in the final match of the Beach Volleyball World Cup against USA pair Jennifer Kessy and April Ross. Talita and Maria Antonelli combined to win the gold medal.
 Lausanne, Switzerland, December 24, 2013 – As part of an end-of-year review series, looks back at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Cup.

The two-year Continental Cup came to a conclusion at the World Cup Finals in Campinas in Brazil and the host nation’s fans were overwhelmed as Brazil clinched victory in the men’s and women’s competitions. 

Maria Antonelli and Talita da Rocha Antunes reunited for one last time to win gold in the women’s event, while world champions Alison Cerutti and Emanuel Rego matched their compatriots’ efforts in the men’s competition. 

The Beach Volleyball World Cup Final featured 10 teams each in the men’s and women’s competition, represented by different nations with prize money of $150,000 per gender up for grabs. For both winning teams their gold medal success was a final hurrah as a partnership.

Antonelli and Talita came together again to defeat USA Olympic silver medallists Jennifer Kessy and April Ross 2-0 (23-21, 21-12) in the women’s final.  

In the bronze-medal match Germany’s Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler held off the impressive Australians Taliqua Clancy and Louise Bawden. 

Few would have predicted that Alison and Emanuel would be unable to add further World Tour gold medals in 2013. The 2011 world champions went their separate ways in November 2013, meaning that their win over USA’s Jacob Gibb and Casey Patterson in the Beach Volleyball World Cup Final was the last time that they topped an FIVB podium in tandem.

They weren’t the only teams who turned back the clock and won a medal. Latvia’s Martins Plavins and Janis Smedins, who had split soon after their surprise bronze-medal finish at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, joined forces once again in Campinas. They showed that they were still a potent pair when they beat Germany’s Jonathan Erdmann and Kay Matysik in the bronze-medal match.

The idea of the Continental Cup and the World Cup Final – the brainchild of FIVB President Dr. Ary S. Graça F° – was to spread the sport and widen the amount of countries that had the chance to compete at the highest level. 

One such country was the Mauritius women’s team of Prisca Seerungen and Marie Heidy Bauda, who had the ominous task of facing Antonelli and Talita early in the tournament. Just under a year ago the Brazilian duo were two of the teams Seerungen watched on television during London 2012 and now they were playing them. 

“We knew who we were going to play against first; we just had to enjoy the moment, but it was very difficult against Brazil,” Seerungen said after the Brazilians had won 2-0 (21-6, 21-4). Seerungen is a physical education teacher in Mauritius and recorded some of the games to show her students. The pair lost all three of their matches 2-0, but were aware that they were taking important steps in the country’s and continent’s development in the sport.

“We don’t have professionals,” she said. “We only do our sport after long days of work, and it’s pretty tough to go after work and give 100 per cent, you only give what you can give. These teams have big sponsors so they don’t have to work, they can play all day long, but in Mauritius we have to care for our job first.” 

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