Poland grabs men's gold and silver, Russia bronze at Beach Youth Worlds
News from the FIVB
Larnaca, Cyprus, July 14, 2012. Michal Bryl and Kacper Kujawiak of Poland were crowned on Saturday men’s world champions as the 2012 FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH Youth World Championships came to a close in a special purpose-built complex at Finikoudes Beach in Larnaca right on the shores of the glistening waters of the peaceful Mediterranean Sea.
It was the first time in the 11-year history of the event that teams from the same country met for gold, and Poland’s 24th-seeded Bryl/Kujawiak eventually edged third-seeded compatriots Lukasz Kaczmarek/Sebastian Kaczmarek in three sets (12-21, 21-19 and 15-7) in the 47-minute gold medal match in front of an enthusiastic crowd.
While the tournament started with 63 total teams from 34 nations, the final four in each gender were all from European countries and the two teams left standing in the final battle for the gold leave Larnaca with incredible memories and a life-time experience.
Both undefeated before the final match began, Poland’s champions Bryl, 17, and Kujawiak, 18, leave Cyprus with a perfect 7-0 match record while Lukasz Kaczmarek/Sebastian Kaczmarek (no relation) finish with a 6-1 record and a silver medal. Lukasz Kaczmarek was attempting to become the first player in the history of this FIVB event to win the gold medal twice as he had topped the standings last year in Umag, Croatia, playing with Macjej Kosiak.
In the men’s bronze medal match, Russia’s fifth-seeded Viacheslav Kirienko/Dimitry Uraikin recovered from their semifinal setback to defeat Austria’s eighth-seeded Martin Ermacora/Lukas Stranger in straight sets (21-14, 21-12) in 44 minutes.
Saturday night’s medal matches started under the setting sizzling summer sun and finished under the summer stars of a Cyprus night with Mediterranean Sea breezes cooling in the evening air but not the action of the medal matches on the center court. Poland won its fourth men’s gold medal, earned its second silver, ninth total medal and recorded its 11th men’s teams in the final four of the FIVB SWATCH Youth World Championships. With the bronze medal claimed by Kirienko and Uraikin, Russia got four total men’s medals, two bronze, and four final four placements.
Meeting in the first men’s semifinals Saturday afternoon, Poland’s Bryl/Kujawiak methodically mastered Russia’s Kirienko/Uraikin 21-16, 21-16 in a 40-minute match that was the first meeting between the two developing teams. In the second semi, Poland’s third-seeded Lukasz and Sebastian Kaczmarek broke open a close match to overwhelm Austria’s eighth-seeded Martin Ermacora/Lukas Stranger 21-19, 21-13 in 35 minutes.
In the exciting all-Poland men’s gold medal match, Lukasz Kaczmarek/Sebastian Kaczmarek, both 18 years old, started very strong, dominating the first set 21-12 against their compatriots whom they practice and compete against daily back in Poland. Bryl/Kujawiak weren’t ready to let the opportunity go and rallied in the second set to win 21-19 after their compatriots had taken an 18-16 lead. In the deciding tiebreaker, Bryl/Kujawiak played like champions on fire winning the third set 15-7 and tasted the gold. After what many would consider an upset, Poland’s Bryl said: “We play all the time with them and they are really, really good, but we weren’t about to just let them have it. We practice every day together and know each other’s tactics very well. We weren’t nervous playing them in the final and it was just our night. Most of all we are so happy for Poland to win both the gold and silver medals in the FIVB SWATCH Youth World Championships”.
In the bronze medal match, Russia’s Kirienko/Uraikin broke out early and stayed there in both sets to earn Russia’s second men’s bronze medal in the history of this event, their fourth medal and fourth final-four finish. After competing last year and not earning a final four spot while playing with a different partner, Russia’s Kirienko said: “After last year I set a goal to win a medal this year and we did it. It was a tough tournament with great competition and the weather was so humid it affected everyone to a degree. Our bronze medal match wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, but after the Austrian player had to take a medical time-out after getting a bloody nose from being hit with the ball, I think the complexion of the match changed”.
For further information visit www.fivb.org