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05/11/2018 15:16
Swedish teams make history by taking four out of six medals at NEVZA event in Göteborg
News from the Zonal Associations

Göteborg, Sweden, November 5, 2018. Siblings Sigrid and Ludvig Simonsson were close to causing a real sensation at the NEVZA zonal event in Göteborg – and yet their performance was just superb as they finished the competition with gold and silver medals around their necks, respectively. “We improved with each match,” said Sigrid who seized the gold medal from the final stop of the NEVZA Tour together with Anne-Lie Rininsland.

Rininsland was already one of Sweden’s best Beach Volleyball player of all times, but had actually retired from competitive sport. With family and children aged 11 and 9, her elite career was just a great memory, which she had capped with a Swedish National Championship title in 2016 - the only time she played with Sigrid Simonsson before this weekend’s event at the iconic Beach Centre in Göteborg.

She eventually did it again with ‘Sigge’ at her side after reuniting for the occasion. After suffering a loss on the first day of the tournament, they simply got better and better with each match. In the semi-final on Sunday, they won a thrilling match over Finland’s Valma Prihti/Aliisa Vuorinen 21-17, 19-21, 15-13, and if that was not enough yet, the final against their compatriots Camilla Nilsson/Sofia Ögren was even more exciting.

Rininsland and Simonsson won 22-20, 17-21, 19-17 after wasting a first match ball and cancelling one for their opponents, before they finally cashed their third opportunity to snatch the gold medals.

Gold medal winners Sigrid Simonsson and Anne-Lie Rininsland played only their second tournament as a team after taking top honours from the 2016 edition of the Swedish National Championship as well

“We always believed that we could win, but it was also about getting there. And Anne-Lie has a great feeling for this,” said Simonsson after claiming gold from NEVZA Beach Sweden for the second consecutive year - last season she won the same event with Tadva Yoken, who on Saturday lost to Simonsson and Rininsland in the quarterfinals.

Sigrid’s brother Ludvig Simonsson made at least as much of a sensation with Alexander Herrmann. They both represent the hosting club GBC, and they broke the winning streak of Youth Olympic Games gold medallists David Åhman and Jonathan Hellvig, who had not lost a single match since the second round of the YOG tournament in Buenos Aires.

In the second game of pool play last Friday, these same teams had locked horns with Åhman and Hellvig emerging victorious at the tiebreak. However, in the semi-final on Sunday, Simonsson and Herrmann claimed an early lead in the tiebreak and eventually cruised to a 15-12 win.

“We benefited from playing them earlier in the tournament and were really keen to beat them. We knew that it was possible,” said Ludvig Simonsson.

In the final, it was once again familiar faces on the opposite sides of the net. Simonsson and Herrmann had claimed a 2-1 victory on Friday over Mads Rosager/Jacob Stein Brinck of Denmark in the very first round of the competition. The Danes still managed to get to the final and went as far as to record a 22-20, 21-19 victory. The two Swedes and GBC members could still be happy and proud of the best result in their career.

Home stars Alexander Herrmann and Ludvig Simonsson settled for the silver medal position at the NEVZA zonal event in Göteborg

In the bronze medal match, Viktor Jonsson/Linus Tholse were able to edge Åhman/Hellvig 21-19, 21-15 to secure another medal for Sweden.

With four Swedish teams on the podium, the host country achieved their best result ever in a NEVZA event. Norway are usually the dominant force, and historically Finland and Denmark have achieved better results than Sweden as well. Teams from England plus wildcard holders from Serbia and the Netherlands competed in Göteborg as well.

Göteborg Beachvolley Club (GBC) achieved something unprecedented as well with their very own teams securing women’s gold and men’s silver, respectively. The event thus became an enormous success for GBC, which next to the NEVZA event delivered for the 25th straight year the Halloween Cup as well, with participation of more than 150 teams.

“The possibilities are huge here at Beach Centre. The capacity is great when you have the world’s largest indoor Beach Volleyball facility,” said GBC President Anneli Friborg.

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