Russian and Dutch ladies claim last two berths for London 2012
2012 Olympic Games
Moscow, Russia, July 1, 2012. The Netherlands and Russia captured tickets to London with victories in the double-gender 2012 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Cup Olympic Qualification Tournament in Moscow on Sunday thereby bringing up the total of European pairs for the women’s event to 13 out of the 24 included in the starting field.
The official country nominations for individual teams will be announced on July 9 by the FIVB. The Beach Volleyball competition in the 2012 London Olympic Games will be held in a purpose-built 15’000-seat stadium at the iconic Horse Guards Parade in central London from July 28 through August 9.
To earn their spots in the XXX Olympiad and fifth with Beach Volleyball as a medal sport since its introduction in 1996, Netherlands beat Italy 2-0 and Russia defeated China 2-0 at Vodny Stadium on the grounds of the Vodny Royal Yacht Club on Sunday.
The Italy against the Netherlands match-up opened the sunny day at Vodny Stadium and the expected drama, intensity as well as tight matches played out dramatically. In the first match of the day, Netherlands’ Madelein Meppelink/Sophie van Gestel overcame their nerves and came from behind to defeat Italy’s Daniela Gioria/Giulia Momoli in three sets (13-21, 21-14 and 15-10) in 45 minutes. Meppelink/van Gestel have played in 10 FIVB SWATCH World Tour events together with a career-best fifth place finish in the recent Moscow Grand Slam.
In the second country match-up to determine the country that would earn another spot in the Olympics, Netherlands’ Rimke Braakman/Michelle Stiekema stopped Laura Giombini/Viktoria Orsi Toth in two sets (21-19, 21-19) in 39 minutes. The Netherlands ended the event with a 5-1 record while Italy’s stands at 4-1.
The final country match-up started similarly to the first with the winning team losing the first set but then coming back to win the second and the tie-break to earn the win. In that first match-up, Russia’s Anastasia Vasina/Anna Vozakova overcame China’s Yuanyuan Ma/Changning Zhang (17-21, 21-16 and 15-10) in 43 minutes. As a team, Vasina/Vozakova have played in 15 events on the FIVB SWATCH World with three ninth places as their best finishes to date. In the last women’s country match-up of the day late Sunday afternoon, Russia’s Maria Bratkova/Svetlana Popova sealed a second spot in the Olympic games for their country with a hard-fought three-set win over China’s Fan Wang/Yuan Yue (21-18, 17-21 and 15-11) in 49 minutes. Russia finished the tournament with a perfect 6-0 record while China completed its gallant quest with a final tally of 3-2.
In her first season on the FIVB SWATCH World Tour, Netherlands’ van Gestel, just 21, who just last September won the bronze medal with Braakman in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada in the FIVB SWATCH Junior World Championships, was nearly left speechless after her country’s victory over Italy. “We were so nervous in the first set and it showed as we both made many mistakes and the Italians were playing with a lot of emotion,” commented van Gestel once the second match secured Netherlands its second placement in this year’s women’s Olympic line-up. “We obviously settled down and I made some strong serves and Madelein had many, many strong blocks at the net. We are so overcome right now with joy it’s hard to put into words. This qualifying process for us was truly a team process and together with Rimke and Michelle we have earned another spot for Netherlands. Unbelievable.”
Equally as pleased for her country to be able to have two teams in this year’s women’s field in London, Russia’s Vozakova said: “I can't express my feelings now, I can’t say much because now it's done - we are going to London. Big thanks to our second team Maria Bratkova and Svetlana Popova. They have done a huge job and helped us get an Olympic ticket. These weeks are the most important in my life - last week Russia won the CEV Continental Cup Final and now we have won the World Cup for Russia. It’s fantastic. Now we must prepare for London and try to show there our best Beach Volleyball”.
For more information visit www.fivb.org