Brno, Czech Republic. Thursday coincided with the much-awaited start of #EuroBeachVolleyU20 in Brno, the first of three Beach Volleyball continental age-group championships due to take place this month. The excitement was obvious, especially after such a long break due to the coronavirus crisis but with the help of the local Organising Committee, everything was ready and set for the rising stars of European Beach Volleyball to perform at Sokolske koupaliste in Brno. Tough matches awaited the home teams representing the Czech Republic right from the start – and all three of them eventually lost their respective fixtures.
“It was very difficult to change partner shortly before the tournament. Kylie [Neuschaeferova] and I won the Czech U20 Championship earlier this summer and we were really looking forward to enjoying the climax of the season in front of our fans. However, we want to fight for the best possible result,” said top-seeded Michaela B?ínková, who is playing in Brno together with Andrea Kinska. The Czechs lost their opening match in Pool A to Brecht Piersma and Desy Poiesz of the Netherlands.
The young players from Gibraltar are making in Brno their first appearance at an international competition of this level. “It is a great experience for us. We are at such a big event for the first time, but so far we are enjoying it a lot. The level is really high here. We really like it in Brno,” said Cellene Griffin and Alexandra Nunez.
The top favourites were successful in the men’s competition, with young Swedish aces Jonatan Hellvig and David Åhman coming to Brno after securing a historic World Tour gold medal for their country in late August in Montpellier. “It will be a difficult tournament, but we started well and we would like to win the gold medals. It is great to be in Brno again, two years ago we won the U18 European Championship here. We are excited to play, especially since it is only our second tournament after the break caused by the pandemic,” said the 2018 Youth Olympic champions.
The longest match of the tournament so far came in men’s Pool C where Kajus Mazuronis and Saulius Vilkelis from Lithuania needed three sets and almost an hour to edge Belgium’s Thibault Goset and Louis Laenen (see picture above).
Even though the sun shone early in the morning but not much for the rest of the day, the players competing at #EuroBeachVolleyU20 still enjoyed ideal weather conditions for the opening round of the competition, with the pool phase resuming on Friday.
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ÖVV – Volleyball Austria
HOS – Croatian Volleyball Federation
Hungarian Volleyball Federation
Cyprus Volleyball Federation
IVA – Israeli Volleyball Association
SVF – Slovakian Volleyball Federation
OZS – Volleyball Federation of Slovenia