Home teams take centre stage on opening day of NEVZA Beach Sweden
The first competition day at the NEVZA Beach Sweden zonal event ended on Friday night after an eventful day, filled with action and a cheerful audience.
All participating teams contested two matches on Friday. On Saturday, 12 out of 16 teams, in each division, will continue their hunt for that gold medal sweetness.
The world’s largest beach indoor facility provides the spectators with a never-ending flow of great rallies, athleticism, coordinated teamwork, hard work and spontaneous outbursts of joyful emotions.
The Swedish team Linda Eriksson/Sara Malmström, seeded as number eight, started the competition day with a thrilling match against the Metsäkoivu sisters, Katja and Tuuli, from Finland, going all the way to an 18-16 score in the third and deciding set. In second round, Eriksson/Malmström had to accept a loss at the hands of their compatriots Susanna and Kristina Thurin. “It is really fun that the tournament has begun and with a very good start for us. We played calm and felt that we put good pressure in both serve and attack. We look forward to continue playing,” said the Swedish twins about their first competition day.
The Thurin-twins in action. Photo: Johanna Svensson.
On the men’s side, the local wild card holders Leon Vincent/Joel Hallabro (pictured above) showed that they are here to stay. As team number sixteen they took down the number one seeded, Lars Tveit Retterholt/Stian Opsahl from Norway. In front of a full house, this match ended after playing three thrilling sets. “We have the audience to thank for the victory in our first international match ever. We were excited for the opportunity and challenge and wanted to give the audience an excellent show,” Leon Vincent said. Vincent/Hallabro continued to impress by winning the second round showing the same spirit when playing against Pekka Piippo and Pyry Topio of Finland.
The teams competing at NEVZA Beach Sweden delivered spectacular Beach Volleyball across all courts. The youngsters from Norway, Nils Gunnar Ringøen and Markus Mol have come to Göteborg after playing the last tournament against each other. In the 1-Star World Tour event in Oslo in September, they played the gold medal match with the top world ranked Anders Berntsen Mol/Christian Sandlie Sørum as teammates. Ringøen/Mol are the only Norwegian team still in the winners’ bracket, together with three teams from Sweden. Norway had eight teams registered for the tournament, but only five eventually joined the competition. Sweden had six teams entering the tournament and all of them are continuing their journey on Saturday.
As many as six Northern European countries have fielded teams for the men’s competition. Showing great determination and commitment, the teams travelling the furthest, those from Iceland and England, ended up playing each other for 13th place.
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Hometown-duo Alexander Annerstedt and Ludvig Simonsson. Photo: Johanna Svensson.