Beach Volleyball

Stars of tomorrow to convene in Riga for #EuroBeachVolleyU20


Article Thu, Aug 3 2023

Latvia’s capital Riga will host the CEV U20 European Beach Volleyball Championships from August 17 to 20, with as many as six home teams – three in each gender – due to compete on home soil. 

Kristians Fokerots/Olivers Bulgacs, Davis Teteris/Kaspars Kronbergs and Matiss Šalkovskis/Karlis Jaundžeikars will contest the men’s tournament. On the other hand, Deniela Konstantinova/Liva Ebere, Karmena Struka/Katrina Struka and Kitija Adamsone-Martini/Beate Runce will play in the women’s championship. Last week, Fokerots and Bulgacs finished third at the U22 championship in Romania, where Ebere successfully replaced Varvara Brailko, reaching the semi-finals together with Anete Namike.

“We are holding the CEV U20 European Championship because, in my opinion, the players of this age group are the strongest we have - last year we took first and second place in the U19 World Championship. In addition, if we did not organise the championship, last year’s World Championship silver medallists would not participate in this year’s CEV U20 European Championship,” Arnis Tunte, the Chairman of the Board of the Latvian Volleyball Federation (LVF) justifies the initiative of holding the CEV U20 European Championships in Latvia.

“I am satisfied that it is us and that we can host this competition in the centre of Riga, and we hope that in the future other international competitions will also be held in Riga. Riga Municipality, the main financial supporter of the competition, agreed to host the championship, hoping to kill two birds with one stone. First, it can help our athletes win medals, and secondly, Riga pledged to support Beach Volleyball if a completely new stadium is built, which would remain in Riga’s infrastructure for at least five years. The stadium is currently being built by O-Sands together with Merks,” continues Tunte. “For Riga, the return to the circuit of high-ranking competitions is a big step forward. The city has its own beach bordering the sea, as well as many indoor halls where to play the game. Of course, Riga also has its own economic benefits, and this event promotes tourism in the city and the recognition of Riga itself.” 

Latvia's home heroes Kristians Fokerots and Olivers Bulgacs recently claimed U22 European bronze in Timisoara

Asked to predict the possible success of Latvian athletes, the chairman of the LVF Board reminds that “youth tournaments are unpredictable, however, Kristians Fokerots and Olivers Bulgacs, who just won the CEV U22 European Championship bronze medals, are favourites. And Deniela Konstantinova with Liva Ebere, who have already proven themselves last year, are a force to reckon with too. However, I am not saying the others do not have a chance. I think we can expect a surprise from them.” 

Representatives of 33 countries have registered for participation. The Austrian duo Timo Hammerberg/Tim Berger, who were defeated by Fokerots and Bulgacs in Romania in the match for the third place, will also compete in Riga after performing at the ‘senior’ EuroBeachVolley in Vienna this week. The best pair of last year’s U19 World Championship behind the two Latvian duos, Arthur Canet/Téo Rotar of France, will also meet the home teams in Riga, as well as the Italian Raoul Acerbi, the winner of last season’s CEV U22 European Championship from Sweden, Jacob Hölting Nilsson, and fourth place finisher Karolis Palubinskas of Lithuania. 

Young Belgian Daan Hendrikx lost to Fokerots and Gustavs Auzins in the semis of the U18 European Championship contested last year in Greece, and he is due to play in Riga too, as does Poland’s Szymon Beta, who finished fourth last year in Loutraki. 

The line-up of the women’s tournament includes a bronze medal winner from the U22 event in Timisoara, Spain’s Sofia Izuzquiza Corulla, last year’s U19 world champion from Ukraine, Yeva Serdiuk, last year’s U18 European champions from Czechia Anna and Katerina Pavelkova, the U18 vice-champions from Austria, Lia Berger and Lilli Hohenauer, and bronze medallists Mila Konink and Noa Sonneville from the Netherlands.

Last year, in the Turkish city of Izmir, Konstantinova/Ebere finished second in the U20 women’s competition, whereas Fokerots/Bulgacs claimed the ninth place.

Players will fight for medals on four O-Sands courts, with 750 spectators watching the games from the stands of the centre court. Admission to all games will be free of charge.

The event is supported by Riga Municipality, the Ministry of Education and Science of Latvia, LIAA, Live Riga, Latvijas Gaze, Musa motors, Radio SWH,, the magazine Santa, Cido, Merks majas, and Venden.