Huge beach party ends with Latvia and Sweden taking gold in Göteborg
The biggest Beach Volleyball party of the year in Northern Europe has ended after as many as 168 teams participated in five different tournaments during the weekend. All held at the world’s largest indoor Beach Volleyball facility.
The most prestigious tournament of course being the NEVZA zonal event, aka NEVZA Beach Sweden, had some dramatic battles to offer on its final day.
Home town hero Sigrid Simonsson and partner Tadva Yoken really pleased the local fans when they took down Danish pair Line Trans Hansen/Maria Elisabeth Tyndeskov in the semi-finals, and a couple of hours later crowned their tournament with a 2-0 win against Norway’s Hanne Haugen Zylstra/Vilde Solvoll, with both victories carried by an excited audience.
“We played our best game in the final. It was our last tournament of the year and it couldn’t have ended in a better way,” said Simonsson, who represents the local Göteborg Beachvolley Club.
“It is a fantastic feeling to win our first NEVZA event together on home soil! It cannot get any better. We played really well in the final and worked as a team the whole match with great support from the crowd,” said Tadva Yoken after the medal ceremony.
The bronze medal went the way of Victoria Faye Kjølberg/Ane Guro Hjortland from Norway who routed Trans Hansen/Tyndeskov 2-0.
On the men’s side, youngsters Alexander Annerstedt/David Åhman were the surprise of the weekend and upset many top seeds on their way to the semi-final in their first ever tournament as a team. With aggressive serving and many entertaining plays, they captivated the audience. Especially David Åhman, born in 2001, made an impressive first appearance on the senior NEVZA circuit. They pressured Latvian wildcard holders Rihards Finsters and Aleksandrs Solovejs up until a third set in the semi-final but in the end fell short of another sensation in a tight battle.
Finland left the other semi-final with a solid victory against the other Swedish tandem Linus Tholse/Jakob Molin, which paved the way towards an all-Swedish bronze medal match. In that one, Tholse/Molin showed that they had been playing together the whole season and did things with a little more consistency, which made the difference and eventually gave them the bronze medal.
It is fair to say that Latvia’s Solovejs/Finsters and Finland’s Jyrki Nurminen/Santeri Sirén were the two most outstanding men’s teams of the tournament, and they ended up facing each other for the first time in the gold medal match. Although Finland got off to a great start, strong serves and very few mistakes gave the Latvians the first set, 21-19. They started the second set in the same way and showed the cheering audience top level Beach Volleyball, ultimately taking the second set 21-16. After that, the event was over for this time.
Tournament Director Sandra Krook was a bit tired after the weekend but overall very pleased with the event. “We are super happy to organise tournaments like this one here at the Beach Center. This weekend was just a great party as usual, and we already look forward to the next one.”
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Photos courtesy of Sasha Motekalemi