Athens, Greece, May 23, 2014. After taking the 7th place in Thailand at the Bangsaen Open in October 2012, Maria Tsiartsiani withdrew from the beach volleyball tournaments due to a shoulder injury that had to be treated. In the months after her withdrawal she gave birth to her first child - her daughter Sophia who is now 7 months old.
Almost twenty months after her last appearance on the international beach volleyball scene Maria is back in action as Greece’s coach Kostas Tampouratzis put her name on the national squad roster and she will partner again with her former teammate Vicky Arvaniti.
“As I stated last year, my priority at that time was my daughter and my health… As time goes by and my daughter is growing up, I feel the desire to get back on the sand and since the doctors reassured me that my shoulder is OK, I wanted to try again,” said the 34-year-old player and admitted that she has “this strange feeling - everything looks familiar but at the same time everything seems so new.”
“For twenty months my life was in a totally different route but I really have the desire to get back to the court again, to start practicing and play on high level,” Maria explained. “Personally I am curious if I will be able to get back on the same level as I used to be, but with Vicky’s help I think I can do it. At least I will give it a try.”
Maria and Vicky have been a pair in beach volleyball since 2009, but after their reunion they will have a third person on their team.
“Sophia will be our mascot, our lucky charm…,” said Vicky who is thrilled with the return of Maria. “I felt like on our first day as a pair back in 2009 and I am really happy that she is back. We know each other very well, but for sure she is going to need some time to get back in full shape.”
This year Arvaniti will end her partnership with Penny Karagkouni, a team that won the silver medal at the Mediterranean Games in Mersin, Turkey and ranked 5th at the 2013 CEV Beach Volleyball European Championship - Final in Klagenfurt. Penny’s new partner will be Evi Christou.
“It was a good experience playing with Penny, and I believe that I helped her with my experience. I think after the return of Maria we have two good pairs that can compete on high level,” said Vicky.
If everything works according to plan, Tsiartsiani / Arvaniti will make their comeback together at the 2014-2016 CEV Beach Volleyball Continental Cup event in Schinias, Greece, coming up on June 21 and 22.
Click here for more detailed info on the 2014-2016 CEV Beach Volleyball Continental Cup.