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Russia’s Ukolova and Khomyakova are not just another one hit wonder

Russia's Evgenia Ukolova and Ekaterina Khomyakova won their second match after a disappointing start
Stare Jablonki, Poland, July 2, 2013 – Evgenia Ukolova and Ekaterina Khomyakova recovered on Tuesday from their disappointing start at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships Mazury 2013. The Russian pair lost their first match against Canada on Monday, but defeated Australia’s Mariafe Artacho and Jessyka Ngauamo 2-1 (21-11 19-21 15-7) in their second pool play match.

“We knew we had to win today, because we lost to Canada. So today was a very important game”, Ukolova said. In the first set they overpowered the Asian U21 Champions 21-11, but 17-year old Ngauamo and 19-year old Artacho came back strong in the second.

“I think we expected the second set to be as easy as the first”, said Ukolova. “But that was a mistake and after the second set we started to play full power again.” Russia took a head’s start and Khomyakova finished the game on 14-7 with a powerful spike.

“Now we are looking for the next one, because if we win that one, we still have a chance to finish first in the pool.” Ukolova and Khomyakova are determined to brush off their disappointing start and do well here in Poland. For Ukalova these are her third World Championships after finishing 17th in Rome in 2011 with Khomyakova and 37th with Prokopeva in Stavanger in 2009.

Very successful last year

They also want to prove that they are not a one hit wonder. The Russians, playing together since 2011, had a very good season last year with a 9th place at the Olympic Games in London, World Tour gold in Klagenfurt, bronze in Aland and silver in Bangsaen. But this year they have not won anything yet.

Part of the reason they are not in shape yet is that Ukolova and Khomyakova were separated at the beginning of the season. Ukolova played with Popova and Khomyakova joined Prokopeva. In Corrientes they were reunited again.

“After last season we had a lot of injuries in the national team so it was a decision of our coach. But during the season there were some more injuries and we started to play together again.”

They are very happy to be a team again, although they are not an oiled machine yet. “We like it, because at the end of last season we had a really good game and we want to show that that was not just luck. It’s great to play together again.”

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