Yangzhou, China, October 10, 2018 – All eyes were on centre court on Wednesday morning, when Olympic volleyball gold medallist David Lee made his debut in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour 4-star event in Yangzhou.
The USA volleyball star showed his best asset in the game – blocking – to help his partner Mark Edwin Burik clear the first hurdle in the qualification round with a 2-0 (21-16, 21-18) win over China’s Nu Eraili and Yang Cong.
“There was a little bit of nervousness into the match but it was good to get the first win,” Lee said.
“I like to master a new sport and definitely beach volleyball is totally different than indoor volleyball. It has the same skill set but obviously I was more specialised in volleyball as a middle blocker, so I didn’t pass or set that much. The blocking transitions are different as well.”
The USA pair lost momentum and conceded to Australia’s Cole Durant and Damien Schumann 2-0 (21-15, 21-11) in the second match of qualification.
Lee has many achievements that will speak of his excellence as a volleyball player but he is not afraid to start from scratch, he is eager to continue and be a bona fide beach volleyball athlete.
“I had some time off in the summer and I wasn’t playing in the national team. A friend asked me if I wanted to play, so I tried it out and I didn’t do so bad and I wanted to see too if I can refine my skill set and become a beach volleyball player.
“I hope I can continue as long as I play with a good partner. But I want to get some more results because the FIVB World Tour is high level compared to our domestic tour. It was good to get my first taste of victory here in China, but I am definitely hungry to be at the top.”
Lee commended his partner Burik for helping him reach his goal.
“He knows the game very well. He’s a coach as well as a player. He has taught me a lot about the game and makes it easy for me to play. He simplifies it in a way that I could understand the game.”
He admits that he misses volleyball and is not yet ready to bid goodbye to it, but he sees beach volleyball as career in the future.
“I miss volleyball and the stadiums with 10,000 plus people watching. I know beach volleyball can have that crowd too, but I hope I can make it to that level.
“My plan is to play beach volleyball to stay in shape. I want to play one or a half volleyball season and then come back next summer to pursue beach volleyball.
“I am still half in, half out and testing the waters, but so far I like it. The lifestyle definitely more fun than volleyball.”Quick links - Beach volleyball:FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour - YangzhouFIVB.com - Beach volleyballLatest VideosFacebookTwitterInstagram