Russians seeking Moscow gold

Moscow, Russia, May 25, 2017 - With an international Beach Volleyball event returning here next week for 10th-straight season and 12th-time since the start of the sanctioned FIVB competition in 1987, host Russia will be looking for its fifth men’s and third women’s gold medals at a World Tour event featuring the planet’s “elite” competitors.

One of those gold medal finishes occurred early this season in mid-February when Olympic Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Nikita Liamin topped the podium in Iran after the Russians bested Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak of Poland 2-1 (18-21, 21-19, 15-8) in a 44-minute finale on Kish Island.

With the Kish Island win, Russian pairs finished 1-3-5 at the Iranian stop and all three teams will be competing next week in the US$150,000 FIVB at the Vodny Stadium Beach Sports Centre in the “money” rounds beginning Thursday with “modified” play.  Moscow play opens Wednesday with qualification where eight men’s and eight women’s duos will advance to the Main Draws.

The elimination rounds will be played Friday and June 3 to set the lineup for the June 4 medal matches.  The winning duos in each gender’s competition will share the $10,000 first-place prizes in the sixth double gender stop on the 2017 FIVB World Tour calendar.  Overall, the Moscow stop will be the eighth FIVB event this season for both men and women since the start of the campaign in February in the United States at the SWATCH Major Series tournament in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Joining Krasilnikov and Liamin with “lofty’ Russian placements in Iran were Oleg Stoyanovskiy/Artem Yarzutkin and Maxim Sivolap/Igor Velichko as the trio have already qualified for the Main Draw next week with the teams of Ruslan Bykanov/Yaroslav Koshkarev and Aleksandr Kramarenko/Taras Myskiv competing for “money” round berths via the qualifier.

Stoyanovskiy and Yarzutkin, the gold medal winners at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games in China, placed third on Kish Island with a 2-1 (13-21, 21-17, 15-7) win in 39 minutes over Germans Lorenz Schumann/Julius Thole.  In advancing to the semi-finals, Krasilnikov and Liamin ousted compatriots Sivolap and Velichko with a 2-1 (26-24, 17-21, 15-10) quarter-final win in 50 minutes.

Krasilnikov’s gold medal finish was his second FIVB World Tour title as he and his Rio Olympic partner Konstantin Semenov topped the June 2014 Moscow podium by defeating Grzegorz Fijalek and Mariusz Prudel of Poland 2-0 (23-21, 21-17) in 38 minutes at the 302th men’s FIVB World Tour event since 1987.

It marked the last podium-topping effort for the Russian men on the international circuit as Dmitri Barsouk and Igor Kolodinsky captured gold medals in back-to-back season at FIVB stops in 2008 at Klagenfurt, Austria, and 2009 at Kristiansand, Norway by defeating pairs from the United States and Latvia, respectively.

The players that captured the two women’s gold medals on the FIVB World Tour during the 2012 and 2013 campaigns for Russia are also competing next week, but with different partners.  Ekaterina Birlova and Evgeniya Ukolova netted gold for Russia at the 2013 Klagenfurt and 2013 Anapa stops by winning title matches over pairs from The Netherlands and Germany.

At the Vodny Stadium Beach Sports Centre next week, Birlova will be playing with Nadezda Makroguzova while Ukolova teams with Anastasia Barsuk.  Other women’s pairings in Moscow will be Svetlana Kholomina/Olga Motrich in the Main Draw and qualifying teams Alexandra Moiseeva/Ekaterina Syrtseva and Aleksandra Ganenko/Elizaveta Novikova.

The FIVB World Tour will be resuming after a week off since last staging an event in Brazil where the host country pairs of Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt and Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda “Duda” Lisboa captured the gold medal by defeating teams from Poland and Canada, respectively, in the May 21 finale.

It marked the 38th-time for men (358 events) and 39th for women (319) that a host country pair had delighted their compatriots on home sand with a gold medal finish.  Brazilians lead the way with 26 men’s and 24 women’s gold medals placements as the host country.  The United States has accomplished the deed 11 times (five men and six women) followed by China (five women’s titles), Russia (3, two men's and one women's), Australia (2, one men’s and one women’s) and Germany (2, one men’s and one women’s).  Argentina (men), the Czech Republic (women), The Netherlands (men) and Switzerland (men) have accomplished the feat once each.

Another week off is scheduled for the FIVB competitors after the Moscow stop before resuming play June 15-18 in The Hague.  Highlighting the 2017 international calendar for men and women Beach Volleyball players will be the $1-million FIVB World Championships July 28 through August 6 in Vienna, Austria and the $800,000 SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals August 23-27 in Hamburg, Germany.  Overall, there are 15 men’s and 19 women’s events on the $5.335-million FIVB World Tour schedule.


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