Men in black from Norway experience 45 minutes in hell
2015 European Games
Baku, Azerbaijan, June 19, 2015. Two teams from Italy (Alex Ranghieri/Enrico Rossi and the Ingrosso twins) and Switzerland (Gabriel Kissling/Alexei Strasser and Sebastien Chevallier/Marco Kratigger) ended up on top of the charts once pool play came to a close on Friday in the men’s Beach Volleyball competition of the Baku 2015 European Games. Another four teams – Latvia’s Martins Plavins/Haralds Regza, Israel’s Sean Faiga/Ariel Hilman, Austria’s Tobias Winter/Lorenz Petutschnig and Denmark’s Peter Kildegaard/Kristoffer Abell – finished first in their respective pools to also get a bye in the first elimination round that will follow later in the evening. All teams had to cope once again with the windy conditions that Baku has become known for but especially with the almost unbearable heat, a task that was challenging especially for Norway’s Oivind Hordvik and Morten Kvamsdal, who nevertheless were happy with second place in Pool A following their 22-20, 21-13 win over Lithuania’s youngsters Lukas Kazdailis and Arnas Rumsevicius.
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At noon, with 35 degrees and strangely enough with no wind at all – something quite unusual for the city of Baku and especially for the shores of the Caspian Sea – two real Vikings, Morten Kvamsdal and Oivind Hordvik, entered court 3 dressed in black for their last match in Pool A.
“We knew this was going to be 45 minutes in hell, so we had already prepared ourselves for this situation. We were in Croatia a couple of weeks ago for a stop of the World Tour and there were also 35 degrees. Only the sand was different,” Oivind Hordvik recounts.
“In these challenging and demanding conditions it’s good that the referees didn’t push us and instead gave us some more time to recuperate and take good care of ourselves so that we can stand this terrible weather,” partner Morten Kvamsdal adds.
“We knew the Lithuanians were a quite young team and that we most probably would easily beat them, but nevertheless you are always surprised by what such young teams can do, and actually they served extremely well,” Hordvik adds.
The 30-year old Oivind Hordvik has been enjoying some extra support from the stands where his wife Janne Kongshavn followed the match. She also competed at the Baku 2015 European Games alongside Victoria Faye Kjølberg and lost yesterday in the first elimination round. They first met in 2003 when they were both selected to join Norway’s national team and after switching to Beach Volleyball they have toured the world together.
“It’s great to have your wife at your side when you play and compete. We really appreciate this life and it’s also a way to clear your mind outside the court so that you do not have to be some kind of Beach Volleyball freak all the time,” Hordvik stresses.
The clear goal set by Kvamsdal and Hordvik is to be one of the top teams in the men’s competition at the Baku 2015 European Games. But they know this is not an easy task. “For us this is a very important step on our way to the Rio 2016 Olympics. So far we had a really pleasant stay here in Baku. The conditions are very good,” said Kvamsdal before rushing away to return to the village. “The only thing I miss here is an ice cold bath! But you can’t have it all!”