By Jayme Monsanto, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – Even though Brazilian Beach Volleyball double Alison and Harley failed to find gold on Norwegian sands,a bronze medal at the Otera Open granted enough points for them to take back the leadership of the 2009 season.
On the previous stop of the World Tour (Mazury Open, August 9) they were passed by German duo Brink and Reckermann, who defeated them in the Polish competition, leaving the Brazilian double 60 points behind.
The Otera Open took place in Kristiansand, Norway, between August 13 and August 16. The Brazilian duo was performing well until they were defeated in the semis by the low-seeded Latvian double Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Ruslans Sorokins, by two sets to one (21-18, 17-21 and 17-15).
“No one expects a team from Latvia to win big matches, so we can play without any pressure. I just hope we can play that way in our next match,” said Samoilovs about the incredible result against the Brazilians.
The bronze medal match happened on Sunday, with Alison and Harley beating French brothers Andy and Kevin Ces by two sets to one (21/18, 25/21 and 15/8). Now the Brazilian duo have 5,700 points in the ranking, against 5,600 from the Germans, who did not play in the Norwegian competition.
The gold medal was won by Russian duo Dmitri Barsouk and Igor Kolodinsky, who beat the Latvians on the final by two sets to zero (21-13 and 21-16). “Our play has really improved lately,” said the 26-year old Kolodinsky, who started playing with Barsouk at the end of the 2006 season. “We have now placed fourth and first in our last two events, so we feel good about our game right now. We have been close to breaking through this season, but we had not been finishing matches very well until lately.”
In the Women’s event the gold was taken by Brazilian duo Talita and Maria Elisa, who beat the Schwaiger sisters (Doris and Stefanie) from Austria in the final by two sets to one (21-14, 18-21 and 15-12). “It is great to win again in Kristiansand where I won my first major Beach Volleyball World Title,” said the 25-year old Maria Elisa, who was named the most outstanding player for the Otera Open.
“Last year’s victory was very special since it was my first Otera Open gold, but this year it’s very important as we would like to finish as the No. 1 team on this tour. We are still a gold medal behind Juliana and Larissa this year, but every win helps.”
The third and last Brazilian double to win medals in the Otera Open was Juliana and Larissa, who defeated home team Nila Ann Hakedal and Ingrid Torlen in the bronze medal match by two sets to zero (21-17 and 21-7). Juliana and Larissa have now 5,960 points in the season ranking, while Talita and Maria Elisa are 180 points ahead, with 6,120.
The Beach Volleyball World Tour has three more stops (of a total of fourteen) in the male class and five more (of a total of sixteen) in the female class. The next one will be the Aland Open, in Finland, which takes place between Wednesday August 19 and Sunday August 23.