Defying snow blizzard, Špindlerův Mlýn ready for Snow Volleyball
2017 CEV Snow Volleyball European Tour
Špindlerův Mlýn, Czech Republic, February 24, 2017. Snow is falling and winds are whirling in Špindlerův Mlýn on the day the second stop of the 2017 CEV Snow Volleyball European Tour is about to get underway with qualification matches in both the men’s and the women’s competitions. In spite of the weather, the most popular mountain resort in the Czech Republic is ready for some exciting action on the snow from Friday through Sunday, with as many as 47 teams having registered to participate.
The men’s line-up is highlighted by the presence of last year’s European Tour ‘King of the Snow’ Michal Matyja from Poland. His rise to the top of the continent started here, in Špindlerův Mlýn, where he and his Czech partner Robert Kufa triumphed with the trophy. The CEV regulations no longer allow mixed international duos on the Tour, so now Matyja and Kufa will try to defend their title separately, each with a new teammate. Robert has teamed up with his brother David Kufa, who finished runner-up in the 2016 edition on home snow, while Michal has joined forces with Piotr Janiak.
These two pairs already crossed their ways in the third place match at the international tournament held in Iran a couple of weeks ago, with the Polish team ending up on the podium. They are the two best-ranked duos out of the 29 that have signed up to play at Špindlerův Mlýn.
Another Polish pair, Adrian Sdebel/Michal Nalborski, who took Špindlerův Mlýn bronze in 2016, have also registered to battle for honours in front of the Czech audience. They are one of the 20 duos from Czech Republic, Poland, Germany and Slovakia that will go directly into the main draw. Four more will join them following completion of Friday’s single-elimination qualifications.
The women’s line-up is led by Anna Dostalova/Michaela Knoblochova. The Czech pair played in the final of last year’s Tour stop in Italy and will now try to use the home snow advantage to do one better. They are facing tough competition from Slovakia’s Silvia Poszmikova and her current partner Zuzana Snopkova. Poszmikova will be defending her Špindlerův Mlýn gold from 2016, when she and Czech teammate Zuzana Vojtiskova stood on top of the podium. She is coming to the Czech mountains also with a bronze medal from the first stop of the 2017 CEV Snow Volleyball European Tour in Erciyes, Turkey, where she and Eva Elekova won the third place match.
The women’s main draw action on Saturday and Sunday will feature 12 teams, 10 of them have already been confirmed. Two more will emerge from the qualification tournament on Friday.
This weekend’s tournament in Špindlerův Mlýn is the first of five CEV Snow Volleyball European Tour events organised by Austrian promoters Chaka2.
“Since the first professionally organised Snow Volleyball event in 2009 in Wagrain-Kleinarl, Austria a lot of things have changed and the sport has developed remarkably,” said Martin Kaswurm, Managing Director at Chaka2. “Due to close cooperation with the CEV, as well as with the FIVB, the sport will keep on growing globally. This year’s events will mark another milestone in the development of Snow Volleyball. With the first ever FIVB Volleyball Your Way Snow Festival in Wagrain-Kleinarl we are happy to make grassroots the number-one focus of Chaka2. Today the second stop of the 2017 CEV Snow Volleyball European Tour will take off in Špindlerův Mlýn and we are excited to announce a record-breaking number of 47 teams participating.”
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