London, Great Britain, July 29, 2012 – Like thespians peforming their ware in the Old Globe theater, the world’s best men’s beach volleyball players will continue their hour upon the stage Monday as round 2 of three rounds of pool play at the London 2012 Olympic Games is held in the purpose-built, sold-out 15,000-seat stadium on the grounds of the iconic Horse Guards Parade as the majestic venue includes a portion of adjacent St. James Park in historic central London.
Thundering over the sand in Horse Guards Parade like the cavalry that has so gallantly done so for so many years, 24 men’s teams from 19 countries competing in London will see 12 of the teams in action in the double-gender event on Monday.
Round robin pool play continues with three sessions on Monday starting at 9 a.m. and continuing to the final match of the day starting at 11 p.m. with the other 12 men’s and 12 women’s teams playing their second of three pool play matches of these Olympic Games.
With the moving and changing lights of the London Eye looking lingeringly on and the stare of Big Ben watching every move, a highlight of Monday’s men‘s pool play schedule with be the last men’s match of the evening at 9 p.m. during the evening session under the London lights in the special stadium in Horse Guards Parade. Meeting on the sands of the iconic venue where sounds of distant warriors can still be softly heard will be USA’s fourth-seeded Jake Gibb/Sean Rosenthal playing Poland’s ninth-seeded Grzegorz Fijalek/Mariusz Prudel.
USA’s Gibb/Rosenthal are 1-0 after winning against South Africa on Saturday while Poland’s Fijalek/Prudel are 0-1 following yesterday’s loss to Latvia in three sets. On the FIVB SWATCH World Tour, USA’s Gibb/Rosenthal have a 3-1 lead in the series history between the two teams, most recently winning against the Polish team in Berlin three weeks ago.
Action in the sand started for real Saturday in the magnicificent purpose-built 15,000 stadium that rests in the shadow of legendary British Army commanders-in-chief memorial statues and the next door neighbor of No. 10 Downing Street, better known as the home of British Prime Minister David Cameron.
In preparing for their second match of the Olympics, USA’s Rosenthal, who finished fifth in 2008 with Gibb in the Beijing Olympic Games, remarked “Last night it was gusty and windy out there and we had to get used to the lights and the crowd, but it was a lot of fun. I’m glad to get our first win under our belt. Our next opponent, Poland, is a very tough team and we have to be ready. We have played them before and have had some success, but we will still study some more video of them and we won’t overlook them because they are capable of beating anyone.”
Opening men’s action in the morning session on Monday at 11 a.m. in the spectacular stadium at Horse Guards Parade will be Norway’s 18th-seeded Tarjei Skarlund/Martin Spinnangr challenging Canada’s 19th-seeded Josh Binstock/Martin Reader in what should be another in a series of tight matches as every match is being played with the intensity and level of play befitting such a royal venue in the shadow of Buckingham Palace. Norway lost their opening match to Brazil on Saturday while Canada tripped up the host country team from Great Britain.
In between will be four additiona men’s matches that will honor the memory of those days are past yet remembered daily on the hallowed ground upon which they compete with warrior’s hearts pounding victoriously. Among the four other matches leading the way could be the 2:30 p.m. battle that starts the midday session between Germany’s third-seeded Julius Brink Jonas Reckermann, who defeated a team from Russia in their first match Saturday, and China’s 10th-seeded Penggen Wu/Linyin Xu, who lost their first when they were upset by an fellow Olympic team from Switzerland.
The Germans, the 2009 FIVB SWATCH World Champions and Chinese teams have met only twice in the history of the FIVB SWATCH World Tour, splitting the two previous meetings.
In Monday’s second men’s match in the morning session, Lativia’s 16th-seeded Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Ruslans Sorokins will meet South Africa’s 21st-seeded Freedom Chiya/Grant Goldschmidt on the sands of the Horse Guards Parade. Latvia won their first match Saturday over Poland while South Africa lost theirs to the USA. This will be the first meeting between the two teams.
Hoping to rally the home-country fans that are eagerly helping to fill the stands, the second match of the midday session at 5:30 p.m. will see Great Britain’s sixth-seeded John Garcia-Thompson/Steve Grotowski attempting to conquer Brazil’s seventh-seeded Pedro Cunha/Ricardo Santos. The British team lost their first match against Canada while Brazil was victorious over a team from Norway. The teams have not played prior to Monday’s meeting.
The first men’s pool play match of Monday’s evening session will be at 8 p.m. between Switzerland’s 15th-seeded Sebastian Chevallier/Sascha Heyer against Russia’s 22nd-seeded Sergey Prokopyev/Konstantin Semenov who split their opening matches Saturday with the Swiss team upsetting the Chinese and Russia lost to Germany. The teams have not met before.
The talented tandems in London have been split equally into six pools, playing each team in their group, with the top two advancing to the single-elimination knockout phase that begins on August 3 along with the two best third-placed teams. The remaining four third-place teams will then compete in playoff matches to determine which pairs will fill the final two places in the 16-team eliminaation bracket’s first round.
Sixteen teams qualified for the Games through the Olympic Ranking which is based primarily on world tour standings, with five more joining as winners of the AVC, CAVB, CEV, CSV and NORCECA Continental Cup Finals and two from the World Cup Olympic Qualification Tournament. Great Britain has also been granted a berth as hosts.
The sold-out beach volleyball competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games is being held through Aug. 9 in a purpose-built 15,000-set stadium on the grounds of the iconic Horse Guards Parade in central London. For current information, visit www.fivb.org.
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