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Historic Kazakhstani World Tour triumph at Bandar Anzali

Bandar Anzali gold medallists Alexey Sidorenko and Alexandr Dyachenko
Bandar Anzali, Iran, October 19, 2018 – Kazakhstan’s Alexey Sidorenko and Alexandr Dyachenko triumphed with their country’s first ever gold medal from an FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour event for either gender. Last week’s silver medallists at Babolsar, 37-year-old Dyachenko and 35-year-old Sidorenko, did one better at the Bandar Anzali one-star stop on the Caspian Sea Series, claiming the second World Tour medal of their careers. 

Home favourites Bahman Salemiinjehboroun and Arash Vakili had to settle for silver after Vakili sustained an injury during the final. This is the second World Tour medal for the Iranian pair as well, after they topped the podium at Bandar Torkaman two weeks ago. Salemi also had one silver and one bronze with his previous teammate, Rahman Raoufi.

Raoufi and his current partner Abolhamed Mirzaali took the bronze at Bandar Anzali. Last week’s gold medallists at Babolsar earned their fifth podium finish on the Tour as a pair. They had one gold, two silver and one bronze to their names so far.

The all-Asian podium at Bandar Anzali

In the first set of the gold medal match, Salemi and Vakili had the upper hand for a while, but could not hold on to the three-point advantage they enjoyed at 12-9. Sidorenko and Dyachenko caught up and even managed to take control reaching set point at 20-18. However, upon landing after a blocked spike, Vakili injured his left knee and his team had to forfeit the game – 2-0 (21-18, 21-0) Kazakhstan’s way.

In the all-Iranian bronze medal game, Raoufi and Mirzaali’s experience paid off with a straight-set win over 11th-seeded wild cards Abbas Pourasgari and Alireza Aghajanighasab. With a power spike through the middle for the last point, 40-year-old Raoufi fixed the final score at 2-0 (21-18, 21-17).

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