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21/07/2012 17:00
Ukraine and Germany win gold in Assen
2012 CEV U23 Beach Volleyball European Championship

Assen, Netherlands, July 21, 2012. Sergiy Popov/Valeriy Samoday from Ukraine and Chantal Laboureur/Kira Walkenhorst of Germany are the 2012 U23 Beach Volleyball European champions.The Ukrainian team claimed the gold medal in the disputed mMen’s competition, while the German duo topped the charts of the women’s championship after presenting a powerful demonstration of high level Beach Volleyball.  
The 2012 CEV U23 Beach Volleyball European Championship came to an end on Saturday. The sensational event held in the Dutch city of Assen gathered during four days the best rising stars of continental Beach Volleyball in a spectacular showdown of quality and effort of the upcoming legends of the sport.  

Sergiy Popov and  Valeriy Samoday from Ukraine won the gold medal in the men’s competition after beating Kantor/Losiak from Poland 2-0 (23-21, 21-19) in the final.The last match of the men’s tournament was a repetition of the 2011 FIVB Junior World Championship, when both teams met in the final game held in Halifax, in a clash that resulted with Popov/Samoday becoming World champions. Polish’s Kantor/Losiak wanted to take revenge from the defeat suffered last year. Therefore, Kantor/Losiak took the lead in the first set but the team from Poland was unable to close the period and Popov/Samoday put the 1-0 in a better finalization (23-21). The tie that traditionally dominates the games between these two teams continued in the second set and again the Ukrainian duo showed more efficiency to finish the period 21-19, therefore signing the 2-0 and earning the first spot of the podium.  

“We played better than them this time”, said Valeriy Samoday; “we made very little mistakes and this situation allowed us to win in two sets; however, I think that the game was very exciting”. Despite the consecutive victories over the Polish duo, Samoday does not think that the rivalry is a done deal. “We are still very young, they are very good and they have a great future ahead of them; I am sure that we will meet many more times in the future”, he added. “This victory was caused by our greater desire for triumph and this medal is excellent news for us”, commented Samoday; “we have a dream; our dream is to succeed in this sport and play the Olympic Games and this dream starts here today”.      

In the spectacular 3/4 match, Aliaksandr Dziadkou and Yauhen Vishneuski from Belarus won the bronze medal. The Belarusian duo beat Dollinger/Schröder from Germany 2-1 (31-29, 16-21, 20-18) thus avoid the German complete success in the final day of the tournament. Both teams engaged in a thrilling fight in which the spiking ability of the guys from Belarus was confronted by the effective blocking and defence of the German duo. After an extenuating first set closed by Dziadkou/Vishneuski, Dollinger/Schröder recovered and won the second period to send the match to the tie-break. The sudden death was heart-stopping, with continuous exchanges of brilliant actions and nonstop alternatives in the scoreboard. Ultimately, Aliaksandr Dziadkou and Yauhen Vishneuski had luck on their side and were able to put the final 20-18. “I am very happy that we won”, said Aliaksandr Dziadkou. “It was a long match and we were very tired. I don’t know what to say, only that we are happy”, he stated.   

Laboureur/ Walkenhorst dominate Women’s tournament  

Chantal Laboureur and Kira Walkenhorst from Germany became the new U23 Beach Volleyball European champions after beating Irina Chaika/Yulia Abalakina from Russia 2-0 (21-15, 21-18) thereby securing a sensational tournament by the German duo. The players born in Immestad and Essen proved to be best duo in the competition, as they claimed the gold medal signing an outstanding record of seven victories in seven matches and wining each one of all the sets played throughout the championship.

The dazzling performance by Laboureur/Walkenhorst was confirmed in a staggering final game clearly dominated by the German team.The blocks by Kira Walkenhorst and the great performance by Chantal Laboureur in defence gave Germany advantage in the match (14-11). The Russian duo tried to stop the extraordinary foolproof act by Laboureur/Walkenhorst but the German team showed an extreme concentration, as the powerful spikes by Kira Walkenhorst put the 21-15 that finished the first set. The outstanding level presented by Walkenhorst/ Laboureur, who had not lost a single set in the whole tournament, continued in the second period. Despite the efforts by Abalakina/Chaika, the Germans demonstrated great maturity and an amazing determination, in order to be able to keep their mistakes to a minimum which produced an overwhelming lead in the second set. An attack by Chantal Laboureur meant the 21-18 that sealed the second set and gave Germany the gold medal.  

“It is unbelievable”, said Kira Walkenhorst: “We really wished for this medal and I think we did a good job during the whole tournament to be here”. The 21-year old player stated that they “were able to come back when the match got difficult” and defined the competition as “the perfect tournament for us”.  

“Winning this gold medal is a great feeling; besides, it was my last opportunity to take part in this tournament”, said Chantal Laboureur; “last year we got the bronze medal so I am very happy that we could win gold this time”, pointed out the 22-year old player. “I really like The Netherlands; in The Hague I won the FIVB Youth World Championship in 2008 and now here in Assen, I win this gold medal”, added Laboureur; “it was a great tournament for us”.  

The bronze medal was claimed by Victoria Bieneck and Christine Aulenbrock from Germany, completing the great German success in the women’s tournament. Bieneck/Aulenbrock beat Kolosinska/Paszek from Poland 2-0 (21-18, 21-17) in the 3/4 match of the tournament, in a demonstration of power by the German duo.The Polish players tried to impose their offensive capacity but the effective serve by Bieneck and Aulenbrock and their wise strategy of blocking allowed them to close both sets in the decisive parts of each period, ultimately leading the German duo to the third place.

“We made a good job serving. Also, we were waiting for their attacks and this allowed us to make some breaks. I am very happy that we won”, said Bronze medallist Victoria Bieneck. “We were sad yesterday after losing in semi-finals but we really wanted a medal in the tournament, so it is great that we could win”. 

With the coronation of Ukrainian and German teams as new U23 European Champions, the tournament held in the Dutch city of Assen came to an end, thus putting the golden touch to four memorable days of competition.  

Click here for more information, including detailed results and picture gallery 

News nr. 13382 of 20004
21/07/2012 19:00:00
Popov/Samoday, the confirmation of a rising star
21/07/2012 16:00:00
Chantal Laboureur, a queen of Beach Volleyball with “healing hands”
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