THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS, JULY 31—Playing the first two of three pool-play main draw matches Thursday, the world’s best young beach volleyball teams continue to scorch the sand at the 2008 SWATCH FIVB Youth World Championships, presented by RICOH, for players under the age of 19. Pool Play will finish on Friday when the 24 main draw teams will play their final pool play match after which the field will be reduced to 16 to begin the single elimination final phase of the event on Saturday. The gold medal and bronze medal matches for both genders will be held on Sunday.
The Netherlands is staging its first international event through Sunday as The Hague is the site of the double gender competition. Being presented for the seventh time in history, this year’s SWATCH FIVB Youth World Championships is being held at the popular Hommerson Beachsport Stadion in the seaside resort of Scheveningen.
Winning their two matches Thursday were eight teams. Leading their pools outright are teams from Poland, Estonia, Switzerland and the United States. Teams from Cuba and Switzerland and in their pool and New Zealand and Finland in theirs are co-leaders by both winning their two matches as well.
Cuba’s Yaimel Borrell/Sergio Gonzalez is the only undefeated team who advanced from qualifying to defeat teams from Germany and France during the first day of the main draw. Seeded 12th in qualifying, they are seeded 23rd in the Main Draw. They advanced to the main draw by winning all three of their qualifying pool-play matches to move to 5-0 in the tournament.
Poland’s Marek Leznicki/Damian Wojtasik, the tournament’s No. 3-seeded team, defeated another team from Poland and the Ukraine while No 13-seeded Kristo Kollo/Oliver Venno of Estonia beat teams from Spain and the host Netherlands and Switzerland’s No.14-seeded Michael Scherrer/Jonas Kissling won matches over teams from France and Germany. Both of Estonia’s victories were in two sets.
Seeded No. 7, USA’s Maddison McKibbin and Will Montgomery defeated teams from the United States and Australia, winning both matches in two sets.
New Zealand’s Sam Wallace-Boyd/Sam O’Dea, the No. 5 seeds, beat teams from the Czech Republic in two sets and Italy in three sets to earn a tie with Finland in their pool with two victories on Thursday at Hommerson Beachsport Stadion.
As the No. 8 seed, Finland’s Joona Manninen/Markus Vaisannen went three sets each to defeat teams from Italy and the Czech Republic.
The three Dutch men’s teams in the main draw are Christiaan Varenhorst/Johan van der Poel, Jan Joost van der Boggert/Jeroen Vismans and Mart van Werkhoven/Lukas Snoek. After the first day of pool play, the Dutch men’s teams have a combined record of 2-4 with Varenhorst/van der Poel and van Werkhoven/Snoek playing in the same pool. Varenhorst/van der Poel defeated their countrymen 21-19 and 21-19 in the first match of the day.
The Hague, the third-largest city in the Netherlands after Amsterdam and Rotterdam with a population of nearly 500,000, is the largest Dutch city on the North Sea and comprises two distinct beach towns. The main beach resort Scheveningen, in the northwestern part of the city, is a popular destination for tourists and young people with 10 million visitors a year.
This year’s SWATCH FIVB Youth World Championships are being produced by Free Time Promotion of Den Hoom, the Netherlands in association with the FIVB and the Nederlandse Volleyball Bond. It is being presented by RICOH.