Teams from England and Finland net gold medals at NEVZA Beach Sweden
The final day of competition put the icing on the cake of a memorable weekend at the NEVZA Beach Sweden in Göteborg, with the medals up for grabs. Teams from Finland and England eventually emerged victorious at the end of the final competition day.
After two action-packed days, the semi-finals for the women’s competition opened the programme of the last day with Taru Lahti/Anniina Parkkinen taking on Sweden’s Tadva Yoken/Camilla Nilsson and the home team of Kristina Thurin/Susanna Thurin playing Norwegians Victoria Faye Kjølberg/Ane Guro Hjortland. Both games were over in two straight but close sets. And to the home crowd’s disappointment, both Swedish teams were defeated even though they delivered a couple of solid performances. Yoken/Nilsson lost 16-21, 18-21 to the top-seeded Finnish pair, while the Thurin twins ended up losing 19-21, 19-21 to Kjølberg/Hjortland.
Later in the men's semi-finals, Sweden suffered another heavy loss as hometown boys Martin Appelgren/Alexander Herrmann, representing hosts Göteborg Beachvolley Club, lost a thrilling three-setter to second-seeded Chris Gregory/Jake Sheaf. After bringing home a set win each, the teams continued to deliver a real show in the third. Appelgren/Herrmann had the momentum for a long time and went on to claim match point, but then and there the course of the match changed – once and for all. Gregory/Sheaf geared up, turned things around and finished strong, securing a spot in the finals via a 17-15 win. Jyrki Nurminen and Pekka Piippo followed in the Englishmen’s footsteps as they came out on top in the second semi-final, defeating Norway’s top-seeds Daniel Bergerud/Svein Oddmund Solhaug in another exciting three-setter (22-20, 19-21, 15-8).
In the final of the women’s tournament, top-seeded Lahti/Parkkinen played no. 3 Kjølberg and Hjortland of Norway for the gold medal. Lahti/Parkkinen played their best game of the weekend and deservedly triumphed, taking the gold medal in two straight and pretty one-sided sets (21-11, 21-16). Earlier on, Kristina and Susanna Thurin had claimed the Swedish derby with Yoken/Nilsson 21-19, 21-18 to secure the bronze medal.
Finally, closing out the competition, the men’s teams of Nurminen/Piippo and Gregory/Sheaf played for first place on centre court. The class of the English side was on display from the start, their attacking performance leading to victory in the first set (21-13). Nurminen/Piippo responded by taking a closely contested second set (22-20), but only to see their opponents surge towards victory in the third and final stage of the game. Gregory/Sheaf rounded off a fantastic three days of Beach Volleyball action in Sweden taking the top spot of the podium via their 21-13, 20-22, 15-9 victory over the Finns.
Bergerud/Solhaug had previously claimed bronze for Norway after edging home stars Appelgren/Herrmann in a closely contested third-place match (24-26, 22-20, 15-7).
Pictures courtesy by Fredrik Stenholm