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Review 2013 – Poland, Brazil top podium at Beach Volleyball U21 World Championships

Katarzyna Kociolek and Jagoda Gruszscynska celebrate gold in the Beach Volleyball U21 World Championships
Lausanne, Switzerland, December 30, 2013 – As part of an end-of-year review series, looks back at the FIVB Beach Volleyball U21 World Championships in Umag, Croatia.

If the age-group World Championships are about opening up a pathway to future teams and offering opportunities to developing countries, then the FIVB Beach Volleyball U21 World Championships showed that the growth of the sport is likely to continue apace in the coming years as new teams step up to the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. Five different countries were represented on the podium, with only Poland enjoying success in both the men’s and women’s competition. 

For once, it was Poland’s women who enjoyed gold-medal success in the Championship after strong performances by their men in recent years. Katarzyna Kociolek and Jagoda Gruszscynska claimed gold with a 2-0 (22-20, 23-21) win over Germany’s Anika Krebs and Jelena Wlk. 

For Kociolek, it was her second Umag gold after winning the FIVB Beach Volleyball U19 World Championship with Karolina Baran in 2011. Kociolek and Gruszczynska also beat the Germans for the second time in a final, repeating their success at the 2012 CEV U20 European Championships. 

“I just can’t believe we won this second set,” Kociolek said. “I felt so hopeless and made so many mistakes. But it doesn’t matter; we won.” 

Austria’s Katharina Schutzenhofer and Lena Plesiutschnig won the bronze medal after a dominant 2-0 (21-15, 21-13) win over Paula Soria and Raquel Brun from Spain. 

“I am glad we made it because our bodies are drained and we are exhausted right now,” said Schutzenhofer. 

In the men’s final, Brazil’s Gustavo Carvalhaes and Allison Cittadin needed only two sets (21-12, 23-21) to beat Canada’s Grant O’Gorman and Aaron Nusbaum and take the gold. 

It was the Brazilians’ second victory over the Canadians as they also met in pool play. 

Gustavo won the Most Valuable Player award. 

“He is the best defender in this championship,” Allison said about his partner. “He is the best partner in the world and also my best friend. I am very happy with this gold medal. We have worked very hard for this. 

“Right now I want to celebrate this gold medal and enjoy the moment. This is a unique moment in my career. Next year, I will be 21 and after this event we will focus on the U23 World Championships.” 

Poland’s Maciej Kosiak and Maciej Rudol defeated Russia’s Maxim Zhirkov and Ostap Firsov 2-0 (21-19, 21-19) to win the men’s bronze medal. 

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