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Father-driven Uruguayans net men’s YOG pool title

Diego Cairus (center) with son Marco (right) and Mauricio Vieyto after the Uruguay team captured Pool A Friday in the Beach Volleyball competition at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games.

Nanjing, China, August 22, 2014 - Without an expression on his face, Diego Cairus stepped outside the court as usual, however, his brisk pace suggested his happy mood which came from his son’s successful journey with a Uruguayan partner to capture one of the six pools in the men’s Beach Volleyball competition at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games.

Playing together in their first-ever FIVB-sanctioned event outside of South America at the Nanjing Sports Park Complex, Diego’s son Marco teamed with Mauricio Vieyto to win five straight pool matches at the Youth Olympics highlighted by a Pool A-clinching win here Friday morning over Yegor Dmitriyev and Sergey Polichshuk of Kazakhstan 2-0 (21-13 and 21-13) in 27 minutes.

What made Marco’s father the happiness was the young Uruguayan’s ability to control the action, especially against bigger opponents in their pool like Finland (Miro Maattanen/Santeri Siren) and the Kazakhstan pair.  Marco Cairus is listed at 182 cm (6’0”) and Vieyto is 190 cm (6’3), but the South Americans are slender in build as compared to the two main challengers in Pool A.

“We are not a big, strong and physical team like a lot of the top pairs in the competition,” said “papa” Diego Cairus.  “We are able to defend well along with displaying very good ball-handling skills that allows us to side-out consistently.  Defeating the strong Finnish team on the second day of the competition this past Monday really helped our confidence.  Since the first day, the kids just do what they should do.  I hope they continue to maintain this spirit when the elimination rounds start Sunday.”

As a Chinese proverb says that “a teacher for a day is a father for a life,” Marco Cairus and Vieyto not only learned their playing skill from their coach, but also learn about life.  “When we win one game, my coach will tell us not to be arrogant,” said the 18-year old Vieyto.  “When we lose one game, he will say losing is normal and try harder all the way.”

Marco Cairus started to play Beach Volleyball at the age of six because of his father.  Vieyto also came from a traditional Beach Volleyball family, but he chose to play indoor Volleyball initially and returned to the sand when he was 12.  Their combination is no accident as both families have the same hobby of playing “Beach Volleyball” together and same heroes. “Emanuel (Rego) and Ricardo (Santos) of Brazil are the heroes in our family’s heart,” said the 17-year-old Marco Cairus.  “We idolize everything Emanuel and Ricardo do and we aspire to be a couple like them.”

By winning Pool A, Marco Cairus and Vieyto will be seeded first in the 24-team single-elimination bracket and will have a first-round “bye” for Sunday’s opening matches.  The top four teams from each pool advance to the elimination rounds where the men’s semi-finals and medal matches will be played Thursday.  The women’s “final four” matches will be played Wednesday.

While the Uruguay tandem won the group with a 5-0 record, Finland finished second as Maattanen and Siren dropped a 2-1 (21-14, 11-21 and 16-14) decision to the South Americans in a 42-minute match this past Monday.  The Finns, who handed Dmitriyev and Polichshuk 2-0 (22-20 and 21-11) setback Thursday, needed the Kazakhstan pair to defeat the Uruguayans Friday to have an opportunity to win the pool.


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