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Graudina and Kravcenoka aiming to continue improvement

Lausanne, Switzerland, May 23, 2020 – Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka are refusing to bask in their progress despite enjoying a breakthrough year in 2019. 

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The Latvian pair answered beach volleyball fans’ questions in a Facebook Q&A that you can watch below, and looked back on their success in 2019, but also discussed their future aims.

In 2019 they qualified for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, won the Moscow 2019 CEV European Championships, were regulars on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour and also competed at the Rome 2019 FIVB World Tour Finals.

They qualified for Tokyo 2020 when they beat the Czech Republic’s Marketa Slukova and Barbora Hermannova in their final match at the FIVB Tokyo Beach Volleyball Qualification tournament in Haiyang, China in September, success they put down to their new approach. 

“This year we prepared for each game,” Kravcenoka said. “We watched video analysis and had a plan in our head. In previous years I do not think we did.”

Graudina and Kravcenoka have played together since 2013 and their previous best came when they won gold and silver at consecutive CEV European U22 Beach Volleyball Championships. 

During their Facebook chat they admitted that the team they would most like to play is Laura Ludwig and Margareta Kozuch. 

They would also like to swap places with Austrian pair Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst so they can enjoy a taste of their celebrity lives and take part on promotional activities such as playing beach volleyball on top of Vienna’s Ferris wheel as they did before the Vienna 2017 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships.  

They enjoyed another career highlight when they topped the podium at the Moscow 2019 CEV European Championships after they defeated Poland’s Katarzyna Kociolek and Kinga Wojtasik 2-0 (22-20, 21-19).

Then to round off a fine 12 months they were named Most Improved Team for 2019, a mark of the respect in which they are now held by their on-court rivals. 

Kravcenoka (left) and Graudina celebrate a point in Haiyang

Once the World Tour returns, they have two aims. Graudina admits that she “wouldn’t say no,” to a first World Tour medal, but also want to finish among the best in the Olympic Rankings so that they have a good pool draw. 

One player they would like to face is Eduarda ‘Duda’ Lisboa, the Brazilian who along with Agatha Bednarczuk, won two World Tour golds in 2019. 

“We played once against Duda at U21 World Champs in China, she was playing with Ana Patricia,” Kravcenoka said. 

“She is strong with Agatha. She is very friendly and always smiling. She is strong and fast and reads the game very well.”

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