Kalteh Kambiz (left) and Behnam Tavakoli want to make Iran proud
Umag, Croatia, June 20, 2013 – Behnam Tavakoli and Kalteh Kambiz have one major goal this week at the FIVB U21 World Championships in Umag: they are determined to make Iran proud.
“We want to perform well for Iran and to help develop beach volleyball in our country”, Behnam said. “Iranian indoor volleyball has improved a lot in the last few years and we want to do the same for beach volleyball in Iran.”
The two physical education students lost their first match on Thursday against Norway’s Andreas Takvam and Runar Torsvik Sannarnes 21-10 21-17. They came back strong at the end of the second set due to some strong serving by left-handed Kambiz, but it was not enough to stop Norway finishing the match at their third match point.
Lack of experience
“We lack experience in international events. That is the only reason we did not perform well in this first match”, Behnam said. “We need to remove the stress and anxiety for the next match. We need some time to adjust to the different atmosphere here.”
Takvan (20) never left the country before, 19-year old Behnam played one match in Turkey in a qualification event for the youth world championships in 2009. They wanted to participate in the U21 Asian Championships this year, but could not get a visa for host country India.
In Iran Behnam and Kambiz are one of the top teams. They are both from the province of Golestan, where beach volleyball is very popular. “There are beach volleyball courts everywhere”, Mohammadreza Derafsh Kavian, the international relations director of the Iranian Volleyball Federation, explained. “They even play beach volleyball at weddings. The groom will pay the players for their show.”
Beach volleyball in Iran is reserved for male players only. “Women want to play as well, but of course that is impossible with scarves and niqabs”, Derafsh Kavian said. “The federation tries though and has build some secluded courts which are for women only and can’t be seen from the outside. I know they organized two women’s events like that for special organizations.”