Beach Volleyball Continental Cup review - Outstanding debut for new Olympic qualification process
Lausanne, Switzerland, December 29, 2012 – As part of an end-of-year review series, the FIVB takes a look back at the inaugural Beach Volleyball Continental Cup, which proved such a success leading up to the London 2012 Olympic Games.
We might be still waiting for the final leg of the Continental Cup cycle – the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Cup Final – to take place (due in the beginning of 2013 in Brazil) but the Continental Cup itself can already be marked down as an outstanding success.
“We were strong like Vikings,” said Iver Horrem after Norway’s men overcame the Netherlands 3-2 in Alanya, Turkey, to clinch the European title and secure their spot in the Olympics. Horrem, Tarjei Skarlund, Martin Spinnangr and Geir Eithun provided the power to down the Dutch, who lost 16-14 in the decider. Poland edged Italy for the bronze. On the women’s side, Russia (Anastasia Vasina, Anna Vozakova, Evgenia Ukolova, Ekaterina Khomyakova) used home advantage to take the title, with the unlucky Dutch again the unfortunate losers (3-1). Switzerland beat Italy to take the bronze.
Surprises all around in South America as Venezuela’s men and Argentina’s women took the titles and both teams qualified for the Olympics for the first time. Argentina’s women (Georgina Klug, Silvana Olivera, Ana Gallay, Virginia Zonta) scored a 3-1 victory over Uruguay on home soil in Santa Fe while Venezuela (Igor Hernandez, Jesus Villafanez, Jackson Henriquez, Farid Mussa) whitewashed Chile 4-0, also on home soil.
It was Canada all the way in the NORCECA Continental Cup as both the men and the women captured gold and tickets to London. “It was like a dream coming true,” said Elizabeth Maloney after the women (Heather Barnsley, Maloney, Annie Martin, Marie Andree) breezed past hosts Mexico (Vanessa Virgen, Martha Revuelta, Mayra Garcia, Bibi Candelas) 3-0. Puerto Rico took bronze with a tough 2-1 win over Costa Rica. Mexico (Aldo Miramontes, Juan Virgen, Ulises Ontiveros, Rodolfo Ontiveros) were also the fall-guys in the men’s final as they lost 3-1 to the Canadians (Martin Reader, Johsh Binstock, Christian Redmann, Benjamin Saxton). “It was my dream to go to the Olympics since I was 11 years old,” a jubilant Binstock stated. Cuba beat Puerto Rico for third place.
Experience helped Australia’s women (Mariafe Artacho, Taliqua Clancy, Natalie Cook, Tamsin Hinchley) as they overcame China (Wang Fan, Yue Yuan, Zhang Changning, Ma Yuanyuan) 3-0 in Fuzhou, China. The victory meant Cook would appear in her fifth Olympic Games, the first female beach volleyball player to do so. Kazakhstan overcame Thailand for third place. Australia were surprisingly unable to make it a glorious double as their men’s team (Cristopher McHugh, Joshua Slack, Sam Boehm, Isaac Kapa), who were the top seeds in the tournament, were stunned 3-1 by Japan (Shinpei Aoki, Yujiro Hidaka, Kentaro Asahi, Katsuhiro Shiratori), with China dumping Indonesia for third place.
The Mauritius women’s team had to fight hard for their ticket to London before downing Kenya 3-2 in Gusenyi, Rwanda. The All Africa Games champions were on the verge of losing in the fourth match before fighting back and taking the tiebreaker 15-8. Mozambique defeated South Africa for third place. In the men’s competition, South Africa (Freedom Chiya, Grant Goldschmidt, Jerome Fredericks, Leo Williams) became the first country to seal an Olympic spot by edging Angola (Morais Abreu, Marcio Silva, Eden Sequeira, Marcio Sequeira) 3-2 in an intense battle in Flic en Flac, Mauritius. Nigeria took third with a 3-1 win over Congo.
The World Cup Olympic Qualification tournament held in Moscow, Russia saw the hosts book spots in both genders along with Austria men and the Netherlands in the women's competition.