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14/04/2019 20:00
Russia sweep top honours at final Snow Volleyball European Tour stop
CEV Snow Volleyball European Tour 2019

St. Anton, Austria, April 14, 2019. Russia – yet again – swept the top honours at the last stop of the CEV Snow Volleyball European Tour 2019, which ended on Sunday in St. Anton after some 15 cm of snow had fallen overnight. The season close coincided with the crowning of the 2019 ‘Queen and King of the Snow’, with Olga Motrich claiming the women’s title, while three Russian players – Pavel Rakusov, Yury Bogatov and Nikita Kuzmin – shared the men’s accolade. Russia took 17 out of 24 medals available in this year’s European Tour. Turkey (one silver, one bronze), Poland (one silver) Lithuania (two bronze medals) and Czech Republic (with one bronze to their name) were the only European nations capable of coping with Russia’s supremacy – while USA won gold with their women’s team at the first stop held in Moscow back in December.

If on Saturday the players competing in the Austrian Alps could enjoy the sunshine, blue skies and temperatures up to 15 degrees, the weather changed completely on Sunday – with fog, clouds and snow adding up to the challenges that the players had to deal with.

After completion of the early matches, it was time for the semis where Russia 2 – including reigning European champion Ruslan Daianov – stamped a comprehensive 15-10, 15-8 victory over their compatriots of Russia 1. The second semi was a thrilling match, which lasted 40 minutes, before Poland eventually beat Italy 1 2-1 (15-11, 11-15, 15-12).

Daianov joined forces with Vsevolod Bobrikov, Vladislav Mikhalev and Vadim Smorchkov to stamp a 2-0 victory in the final with Poland (15-10, 17-15) and secure a second gold medal in this year’s European Tour. Earlier this season, Daianov had won gold in Turkey along with Taras Myskiv and Aleksandr Kramarenko. Russia 1 – with Rakusov, Kuzmin and Bogatov – completed the podium with a 15-10, 15-10 victory over Italy 1. The result was enough for these three players to secure the title of ‘King of the Snow’.

Yury Bogatov, Pavel Rakusov and Nikita Kuzmin of Russia celebrate with the trophy for the 2019 'Kings of the Snow'.

The women’s competition was just as exciting as the men’s tournament. In the semis, Turkey and Slovakia delivered a real battle – which Turkey eventually won at the tiebreak (15-9, 10-15, 15-11). The second semi-final was a lot more one-sided, with Russia recording a 15-4, 15-11 victory over Czech Republic 1.

Czech Republic 1 – featuring former ‘Queen of the Snow’ Anna Dostalova, Magdalena Dostalova and Diana Zolnercikova – regrouped to secure bronze after a 2-1 victory over their neighbours from Slovakia. The women’s final was a highly competitive one with Russia – Olga Motrich, Polina Lapteva, Olga Kozhadey and Anna Romashova – securing a 16-14, 7-15, 15-11 victory over Turkey. This meant Motrich would secure the ‘Queen of the Snow’ title for the first time to go with her historic World Tour victories earlier this month in Wagrain-Kleinarl and Plan de Corones / Kronplatz.

Olga Motrich of Russia is the 2019 'Queen of the Snow'.

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