First gold medal for Semenov and Koshkarev
Russia’s Alexey Pastukhov and Viacheslav Krasilnikov, who came all the way from the qualifications, won the bronze medal without playing. Their opponents Finn Dittelbach and Eric Koreng from Germany had to forfeit because of health problems.
For 24-year old Semenov and 28-year old Koshkarev this is only their second team medal after they won the bronze in The Hague in 2011. Koshkarev also won bronze in Youth and Junior World Championships with a different partner.
The Anapa Open gold is the third gold medal for Russia in the men’s history, next to three silver medals and five bronze. The last time a Russian men’s team claimed gold dates back to 2009, when Barsouk and Kolodinksy won the FIVB event in Kristiansand.
A crowd-pleasing final
The final match of the Anapa Open was a true final, with spectacular rallies, exciting battles at the net and lots of set points going back and forth.
“We’re happy, but very tired as well because it was three sets and all sets were very difficult”, Koshkarev said.
Every set was played point by point. In the first set the Germans got their first set point at 19-20 and again at 20-21, but it was the Russian team that claimed the set at their third set point when Flüggen hit out.
The second set was a replay of the first with the first German set point at 19-20 again. After alternating set points about five times Flüggen and Walkenhorst this time did grab the opportunity.
In the tiebreak Russia took a head start, but the Germans came back to level at 7-7, scoring five points in a row. After that it was point by point again until Koshkarev hit the winning spike at the first Russian match point at 14-13.
“Because of the wind and the sun both teams had a good side-out”, Koshkarev said. “That is why both teams took many points and it was a very nerve racking game.”
“But it was a good game for the crowd and a good game for the final. I think we did a good job.”
First medal ever for Flüggen and Walkenhorst
New team Flüggen and Walkenhorst claimed their first medal ever in only their first FIVB event together. It was Germany’s 69th overall medal, but only the second this year after Jonathan Erdmann and Kay Matysik won bronze at the World Championships in Stare Jablonki.
“I think we put up a good fight”, said Flüggen, who made his FIVB debut this week. “And we can be happy with the silver.”
“I think it was better to have a Russian team win here, otherwise I don’t know if they would have let us go home”, Walkenhorst joked.