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21/07/2012 19:00
Popov/Samoday, the confirmation of a rising star
2012 CEV U23 Beach Volleyball European Championship

Assen, Netherlands, July 21, 2012. The 2012 CEV U23 Beach Volleyball European Championship has confirmed the rising star of some teams that are meant to dominate Beach Volleyball in Europe in the next generations. For some of the duos reaching the podium in the spectacular tournament celebrated in Assen, the U23 European crown adds to an already long list of trophies. This is the case of newly nominated Kings of U23 Beach Volleyball in Europe, Sergiy Popov/Valeriy Samoday of Ukraine.  

Ever since they started their career in 2008, the two players became, at only 21 and 20 years of age, the pride of a title-studded country. “We are still very young, we just want to keep on practicing more and more. We just want to get better”, said Valeriy Samoday.  

Sergiy Popov, from the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhya, and his teammate, Valeriy Samoday, from the city of Sumy, started their era of domination in 2009, when they became FIVB Youth World Champions. The victory in the tournament celebrated in Alanya (Turkey) was the confirmation of a Beach Volleyball diamond in a rough, following the position 19 achieved in their international debut the previous year in the FIVB Youth World Championship held in The Hague. After the competition in Turkey, the players of 21 and 20 years of age have been listed in top positions in most of the tournaments they have participated in, also signing some deceptions along the way.  

The duo arrived anew to an international podium only that same year, as they earned the silver medal in the 2010 CEV U20 European Championship in Greece. The following season, the team repeated podium in the same competition, this time in the championship held in the Italian city of Catania, when they finished with the bronze medal around their neck. After that third position, the duo began to toughen in some of the most important high level competitions, as they started competing in the World Tour and Challenger tournaments.

The only relative disappointment came in 2010, when the two players ended in position 17 in the CEV U23 Beach Volleyball European Championship. In the tournament held in Kos, the Ukrainian hope fought with players even five years older and in these competitions, experience is golden. This situation did not discourage the athletes standing 1.82 and they came back stronger the following season. Sergiy Popov/Valeriy Samoday won the 2011 FIVB Junior World Championship held in Halifax, Canada, signing the second world crown in their young careers.  

“All the titles are great news for us because they give us the opportunity to keep on training. We want to continue playing World Tours and World Championships and many international competitions”, said Samoday.  

Now, Popov/Samoday have reached a new gold medal, this time in Assen, in the 2012 CEV U23 Beach Volleyball European Championship. “This victory is perfect for us”, commented Samoday, “We have a dream: to participate in the Olympic Games. And this dream starts right here, right now”.  

The Ukrainian duo has also completed an exemplary tournament, winning all seven matches and being able to overcome three tie-break games along the way. This fact precisely represents the main characteristic of this team: persistence. “The only reason for our victory here was that our desire was stronger. Our desire is to always be the best”.

Only time will tell if their successes continue and if their dream comes true.

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

News nr. 13410 of 20033
21/07/2012 23:00:00
Serbia's juniors retain Balkan crown after perfect run
21/07/2012 17:00:00
Ukraine and Germany win gold in Assen
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