Review 2013 – China, Netherlands take top honours at Beach Volleyball World Championships
Stare Jablonki in Poland had long waited for its chance to host the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships and when its time finally came, the lakeside venue did not disappoint.
The FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships Mazury 2013 will be remembered above all for the two winning teams, who were able to celebrate for widely contrasting reasons.
China’s Chen Xue and Zhang Xi had been among the leading sides on the women’s FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour for a number of years, but had never landed a major title. They were bronze medallists at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and also finished third at the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in Rome. They ended the 2012 Olympic Games in London disappointed with their fourth-place finish and went into the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships having taken the gold medal at the Fuzhou Open in China.
Although they got off to a shaky start, losing to Finnish twin sisters Emilia and Erika Nystrom in the pool stage, the Chinese duo picked up the pace and eventually took on Germany’s Karla Borger and Britta Büthe in the final. It was the furthest the German duo had ever been in a tournament and the final had everyone on tenterhooks as the points swung back and forth. Despite needing six match points the Chinese duo eventually won the World Championship title with a hard-fought 2-1 (18-21, 21-17, 21-19) victory.
In the men’s competition, Robert Meeuwsen and Alexander Brouwer became the first Dutch team to win the title. Neither had imagined they would finish as champions at the start of the tournament.
Having won twice in the pool stage, their confidence grew as they continued their winning ways and eliminated compatriots Reinder Nummerdor and Richard Schuil as well as Brazil’s Pedro Salgado and Bruno Schmidt.
In the semifinals, they defeated Germany’s Jonathan Erdmann and Kay Matysik and then overcame another Brazilian side, Ricardo Santos and Alvaro Filho, 2-0 (21-18, 21-16) to claim gold and bring the curtain down on a memorable seven days in Poland’s north-east.