By Jayme Monsanto, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – Three Brazilian doubles claimed medals in the VII Beach Volleyball World Championship last weekend in Stavanger, Norway.
The event took place between June 26th and July 5th, and 96 doubles – 48 male and 48 female – took part. The Championship is the second most important competition in Beach Volleyball, second only to the Olympic Games.
Brazil has a long tradition in the sport, and before the World Championship took place, the country’s doubles had already claimed seven of the eight gold medals so far this season. In the Championship, however, Brazil failed to find the gold and had to settle for runners-up prizes.
In the Men’s Event, Brazilian double Alison and Harley claimed the silver medal after being defeated by German double Brinks and Reckermann by 2-0. It is the first time in the competition that a German double wins the Male World Championship.
“We defeated the best teams in the world today and it’s great to know that Germany will now be listed as a world champion,” said German player Julius Brink. Brazilian Harley Marques said getting the silver medal was fair. “They deserved it. They were better today, and I’m happy for my silver medal.”
The bronze medal went to current World and Olympic Champions Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser, from the USA.
In the Women’s Event, three Brazilian doubles got to the semifinals, but just as it happened in the Men’s Event, the gold ended up in North American hands. The U.S. duo Ross and Kessy dispatched Brazilian doubles Ana Paula and Shelda by 2-1 in the semis and Larissa and Juliana in the final, by 2-0.
“We have worked very hard to achieve this title, but we also know that you need a little bit of luck to win. We feel very proud to win this title on the day that our country celebrates Independence Day,” said April Ross.
Larissa and Juliana won the silver medal, and after the match, Juliana said she was thrilled with the result. Last year she suffered a major injury that kept her from playing the Beijing Olympic Games. “They played very well, and deserved to win today. You know I love this game. It’s my life. After my injury, to think I can come back to play in a final is amazing.”
The bronze medal went to Maria Elisa and Talita, who beat fellow Brazilians Ana Paula and Shelda, by 2-0. “We played better and better during the match. It’s very special to win my first medal at the world championships. Shelda in particular gives us a hard time. I hope she plays more, she’s too good to quit now. (Shelda is thinking of retiring),” said Maria Elisa Antonelli about the bronze medal match.
The next stop on the Beach Volleyball World Tour will take place between July 6th and 11th (Women’s Event) and July 7th and 12th (Men’s Event), in Gstaad, Switzerland.
July is a busy month for the World Tour. After the Gstaad Grand Slam, the World Tour goes to Moskow, Marseille and Klagenfurt (Austria).