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Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games Beach Volleyball awards

Tigrito Gomez of Venezuela - Best defender and most passionate

Nanjing, China, August 29, 2014 - The Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympics is now “officially” closed and in the record books.

With 103 women’s and 104 men’s Beach Volleyball matches in the books, team from Brazil and Russia captured the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games Beach Volleyball gold medals.

Many athletes impressed on the sand in Nanjing, but the following participants stood out based on an informal survey of coaches, media and FIVB staff:

• Eduarda Lisboa of Brazil absolutely dominated the women’s Beach Volleyball junior circuit this summer while towering Russian Oleg Stoyanovskiy was the difference in the men’s gold medal finale in Nanjing.
• The 16-year old Eduarda has now won 18 consecutive matches, including gold medals at the FIVB Beach Volleyball U19 World Championships in Porto, Portugal and the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games.
• Stoyanovskiy, who will turn 18 in September and had placed fifth this season in FIVB junior world championships in Cyprus (U21) and Portugal (U19), saved his best performance of the season in Nanjing with Artem Yarzutkin,

Best Blocker
• At 193 cm (6-foot-4), Ana Patricia Silvia of Brazil was the tallest female Beach Volleyball player at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games.  She frequently dominated matches by repeatedly rejecting numerous spikes from her opponents.  “She’s a beast at the net,” said American Skylar Caputo. “It’s really tough to hit around her.”
• Niklas Rudolf of Germany was the tallest player in the men’s field (208 cm, 6-foot-10).  Despite his team being upset in the quarter-finals, Rudolf’s play at the net helped the Germans to six-straight wins, including an upset pool play win over Arthur Mariano and George Wanderley of Brazil.

Best Defenders
• Tabbed the Puerto Rican “beach rats” by coach Angel Peña, Lina Bernier and Valeria Cajigas developed a reputation for never letting the ball hit the ground and keeping the ball alive.  They dove for every ball, and refused to give up on points.  “Taller player will always be taller,” said Peña of the Puerto Rican women.  “We have to play harder than them.”
• There were several impressive defenders in the men’s completion and Tigrito Gomez of Venezuela was the “best of the best.”  As one veteran observer said, “Tigrito would rank among the best defenders on the FIVB World Tour.  He gets to every ball with ease and his play inspires everyone.”

Most Passionate
• It was always easy to find out which of the four courts France was playing on.  Listen closely and Alexia Richard’s celebratory screams could be heard from nearly anywhere at the Nanjing YOG Sports Park.  “We play with all of our emotions,” Richard said.
• The “one and only”, Tigrito Gomez of Venezuela.  “His energy is something special,” said FIVB photographer Conny Kurth of Germany.  “His passion is what you look for on the court when covering Beach Volleyball.  I just love to shoot his matches.”

Most Consistent Team
• Nothing seemed to rattle Megan and Nicole McNamara of Canada.  In the second set of the semifinals, the Germans scored eight consecutive points before the Canadians regained their composure and won both the set and the match.  “We kind of unraveled, but we regrouped after the timeout,” Nicole McNamara said.
• Stoyanovskiy and Yarzutkin won 18 of 19 sets in Nanjing with their only one three-set match being against Arthur and George of Brazil in the quarter-finals.  In winning nine-straight matches, the Russians average point difference per set was seven.  In the “final four” matches, Stoyanovskiy and Yarzutkin did not lose a set with the margins being 10, 11, 9 and 8 points.

Biggest Surprise
• The United States women team of Skylar Caputo and Zana Muno struggled in pool play, only winning one match in addition to benefiting from a forfeit.   Once the elimination round started, however, Team USA finally started to show what they could do. They took down France in the Round of 24, and then defeated Latvia in three sets in the Round of 16.  The United States even won their first set in the quarter-finals before ultimately falling in three sets to Canada, who went on to win the silver medal.  “We feel like we proved ourselves because we were embarrassed with the way we played in pool play,” said Team USA’s Zana Muno.
• Santiago Aulisi and Leandro Aveiro of Argentina edged Miro Maattanen and Santeri Siren of Finland for the honor due to the South Americans winning the bronze medal match (2,1, 21-10, 12-21 and 15-12) between the two teams.  While the Finns were playing in their first-ever FIVB-sanctioned Beach Volleyball event, the podium placement by Aulisi and Aveiro was surprising due to both players being only 6-foot tall.  The team won seven of nine matches in Nanjing and eliminated a German team that featured the tournament’s tallest player and best blocker (Niklas Rudolf, 208 cm, 6-foot-10).

Other Notes
• A total of 52 National Organizing Committees entered teams in the Beach Volleyball competition at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games.
• Beach Volleyball teams from Nigeria and Sierra Leone did not compete after IOC said August 16 that athletes from affected countries with Ebola will not be participating in the Games.  IOC president Thomas Bach said local Chinese organizers also wanted to prevent an Ebola outbreak in the world's most-populated country.
• The average match duration was 33 minutes with the longest two matches being 57 minutes.
• Eight Beach Volleyball participants were country flag bearers, including Lisa Arnholdt of Germany, Santeri Siren of Finland, Rendy Vedian Licardo of  Indonesia, Seraphine Mukantambara of Rwanda, Diana Noel of Saint Lucia, Rodell Fraser of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Loluama Eti of Tuvalu and Loti Joe of Vanuatu.
• Flag bearers for the closing ceremonies were Philip Amissah of Ghana, Seraphine Mukantambara of Rwanda and Ajain Sweeney of the Virgin Islands.
• The Youth Olympics was the 31st “world-wide” FIVB-sanctioned event for men’s and women’s Beach Volleyball players under the age of 23.
• The FIVB began sanctioning “youth” and/or “junior” world championship events in 2001 for players under the age of 21.
• The FIVB established a “youth” world championship event for players under the age of 19 in 2002.
• The FIVB initiated a “juniors” world championship event for players under the age of 23 in 2013.
• The FIVB started a “youth” world championship event for players under the age of 17 in 2014.
• The Nanjing 2014 Games was the first “Youth Olympics” for Beach Volleyball.
• With Argentina winning a men’s YOG bronze medal, it was the first junior podium placement for the South American country.  Led by Brazil, a total of 24 countries now have had teams medal at “youth” or “junior” world championships.
• Brazil has now compiled 31 medals at FIVB “youth” or “junior” world championships, including 16 gold, nine silver and six bronze.
• Poland (13 gold, six silver and six bronze) and Germany (7, 8, 10) each have 25 total medals for men and women with Russia with 18 (2, 7, 9), The Netherlands with 11 (3, 5, 3) and the United States with 10 (3, 4, 3).


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