Polish duo add third world crown with U23 title
The win means they can add the U23 world crown to the FIVB U21 and U19 gold medals they already had in their collections and confirms them as the pre-eminent age-grade players in the men’s game.
“Of course we are very happy,” Kantor said. “We want to thank our supporters because today we had a full house. We thought we would play the Russian and Austrian teams at some point in the tournament and luckily we beat them to reach the final.
“In the final we played a very hard opponent in Brazil, but we managed to win and I am very proud of that.”
With both teams having played impressively on their way to the final, they matched each other in the early stages of the first set, but eventually Kantor and Losiak, roared on by a full centre court, pulled ahead to claim the first set.
The second began in much the same manner and while the Polish duo pulled ahead midway through, the Brazilians rallied and became to force their way back into the match. Whereas in the semi and quarterfinals Kantor and Losiak had lost concentration in the second set, on this occasion they retained maximum focus and soon pulled ahead.
Their lead proved too much for the Brazilians and the Poles won after Vitor Felipe was penalised for a double touch on their first match point.
“We are very happy with our gold medals,” Losiak added. “We didn’t do it by ourselves, but were helped by our supporters who helped us to keep going.
“It was a real challenge playing at home and we are pleased we gave our fans something to cheer about.”
Austrian’s stay strong to win bronze
Austria’s Lorenz Petutschnig and Tobias Winter shrugged off their fatigue to win the men’s bronze medal with a 2-0 win over Latvia’s Rihards Finsters and Aleksandrs Solovejs.
Petutschnig and Winter were comfortably in control in both matches, despite their gruelling schedule of five matches in two days. Winter brought up match point with a spike and then won the match with a similar shot a moment later.
“I was very happy that they didn’t serve to me because I got all the balls in the semifinal and it was very exhausting,” Petutschnig said. “They played good, but we were always leading, so it was a good game from us.”
Thirty-two teams per gender took place in the main draw of the inaugural FIVB U23 Beach Volleyball World Championships. The main draw started on June 6 and the tournament ran through until Sunday, June 9 when both the men’s and women’s finals took place.
Myslowice, located 70km from Poland’s ancient capital Krakow, is hosting an FIVB age-group tournament for the third time, after successfully hosting the U19 and U21 version in 2006 and 2007.
It has also regularly hosted stops on the FIVB World Tour – the first tournament was a women-only tournament in 2008, as was the 2011 event. In 2009, 2010 and 2012 it was the men who lit up the sand.