Ljubljana, Slovenia, August 5, 2018 – Valeriy Samoday and Taras Myskiv, who started their campaign at the Ljubljana one-star stop on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour in Friday’s qualifications and went into the main draw as the bottom 16th-seeded team, found themselves on top of the men’s podium on Sunday. While Myskiv already has a couple of World Tour silvers to his name and Samoday is a two-time world champion in under-age (U19 and U21) categories, for both players it was the first ever gold on the Tour.
Home favourites Nejc Zemljak and Jan Pokersnik pleased the Slovenian fans with the silver medal. While Zemljak was also a U19 world champion in 2005, for this pair it was the second podium finish on the World Tour after their Montpellier gold in September.
Switzerland’s Florian Breer and Yves Haussener completed the top three. For the 2014 U17 world champions and 2016 U19 World Championship runners-up the bronze was their first ever World Tour medal.
The men’s podium at Ljubljana
Samoday and Myskiv extended their winning streak with three more successful matches on Sunday. In the quarterfinals, they crushed fourth-seeded Brazilians Marcio Guadie Ley and Arthur Diego Mariano Lanci 2-0 (21-15, 21-9). In the semifinals, the Russians faced Slovenia’s Danijel Pokersnik and Tadej Bozenk and after a close match emerged with a 2-0 (22-20, 21-19) win. In the gold medal game, Samoday and Myskiv cruised to a 2-0 (21-14, 21-17) victory over top-seeded Zemljak and Pokersnik. It was a remake of an earlier clash between these two duos in Pool A, when the Russians claimed a 2-1 win and dropped their only set in the seven matches they played at the Ljubljana event.
“For us, this was a really successful tournament, especially since we didn't expect the win. This was the first tournament for my partner after a really long break and we even had to play qualifications,” Taras Myskiv said. “I am so happy that we managed to go all the way to the end and win here in Ljubljana.”
Slovenia’s Zemljak and Pokersnik started their Sunday with a tough 2-1 (24-22, 14-21, 15-11) victory over Ukraine’s Sergiy Popov and Vladyslav Iemelianchyk in the quarterfinals to follow up with a hard-fought 2-0 (22-20, 21-15) win over Breer and Haussener to reach the final.
In the bronze medal game, 19-year-old Breer and his 20-year-old teammate Haussener came back from a set down against Pokersnik and Bozenk to persevere for a 2-1 (17-21, 21-13, 15-10) victory and celebrate their spot on the podium.
Florian Breer setting the ball during the third place match
“This season we already had some fourth places and last week we had quite a difficult time at the U22 European Championship. We did not get a medal there and maybe that’s why we’re super happy now with this third place,” Yves Haussener commented. “We accomplished our goal and I can say we had a great tournament.”