Reaching new Beach Volleyball heights
Nanjing, China, August 18, 2014 - As Yu-Rong Song and Tzu-Yi Pan were leaving the court here Monday when it started to rain after their Beach Volleyball win over Tuvalu in the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games, the Chinese Taipei tandem had a “curious eye” on a match between Turkey and Uruguay.
With their 2-0 (21-5, 21-11) victory in 23 minutes over Loluama Eti and Valisi Salalia of Tuvalu, Song and Pan have now won their opening two Pool C matches in the women’s competition at the Beach Volleyball venue in the Nanjing Sports Park Complex to share the group leadership with Skye Mondesir and Dala Noel of Saint Lucia.
The “curious eye” for the Chinese Taipei team was for the young girls from Turkey as the two teams are scheduled to meet Tuesday during the third of five rounds of pool play matches for the inaugural Beach Volleyball competition in the Youth Olympics.
With both players listed under 166 cm (5’5”), the Chinese Taipei players “get very few chances to spike the ball during a match,” said Pan, who has the naturally brown skin. “It is amazing for us to go through smoothly with our first two matches. It is just the start and we need to adjust everything for the stronger teams in the following game.”
The Turkish tandem of Esra Cetin (178 cm, 5’10”) and Selin Yurtsever (180 cm, 5’11”) will be a “bigger” challenge for Song and Pan, who opened with a 2-1 pool win Sunday over Lia Fortunati and Maria Rotti of Uruguay. The South Americans defeated Cetin and Yurtsever 2-1 (16-21, 21-18, 15-7) Monday in 50 minutes.
Song and Pan are guaranteed a third win in Pool C as their fourth pool play match Thursday will be a forfeit victory over Hajara Audu and Bitrus Jummal as the Nigerian team withdrew from the competition after the schedule was determined this past Friday.
The Chinese Taipei team’s final group match will be against Mondesir and Noel Friday. The top four teams from each pool will advance to this Sunday’s elimination bracket where the top tandems from each group earn “byes” and a guaranteed ninth-place finish in the 36-team Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games competition.
Song and Pan made a decision to experience Beach Volleyball at the start of this year when Coach Chen Yu’an wanted to cultivate a new combination. “Both girls had been playing Volleyball indoors, so they decided to give Beach Volleyball a try. I agreed and here we are. I am very pleased with our two matches so far here in Nanjing as both girls have displayed a competitive spirit,” said Chen.
When qualifying for the Youth Olympics, Song and Pan achieved what Chen expected. They placed third in the Asian Confederation continental qualifier in Thailand in their first-ever experience with foreign players. The finish earned Song and Pan a berth in the Youth Olympics.
Song and Pan began to play Volleyball at the age of 10. “We had excellent performances at the school sports meetings,” said Pan. “We have had a 10-year friendship. We have shared both happiness and sorrow together. We encourage each other to keep on trying when we feel tired.”
Despite being one of the shortest teams in the 2014 Youth Olympic competition Song and Pan will be seeking to achieve a “lofty” placement in the Nanjing Games. With Pan’s “amazement” for the team’s opening successes at the Beach Volleyball venue in the Nanjing Sports Park Complex, the Chinese Taipei pair continues to seek new heights during their initial journey as international Beach Volleyball players.