Scotland wins two gold medals in sunny Perth and invents a new tradition in volleyball.
The Miedzybrodski clan (Robin and Shauna) have two gold medals to take home to their five month old daughter and Scotland also won two silvers and one bronze. Perhaps most importantly we saw some good performances from young contestants as well as more experienced players which shows the true dynamic of the sport in this country. As Barry McGuigan, Scotland Men’s coach wrote, “it was great to see training transition into competition and progress that was made through the tournament”.
In the women’s final Lynne Beattie and Mel Coutts had to overcome the obstacle of Anneka Hastings and Shauna Miedzybrodzki in a game with no real favourites as all four athletes are excellent beach volleyball players. Hastings and Miedzybrodski won the day with good block, defense structure and excellent ball control. For the bronze medal Katherine Smy and Laura McReady complimented each other and eventually beat Jen Thom and Jo Morgan who demonstrated that they can fight against any opponent.
While in the men’s final Seain Cook and Robin Miedzybrodski overpowered their opponents Ryan Mcleod and Jamie McHardy on the first set and winning comfortably. The second set was much closer with Ryan and Jamie taking full advantage of the unforced errors of their opponents and starting to believe at the end that they could have challenged the better trained Shaun and Robin.
A very entertaining bronze game was held between San Marino and Northern Ireland. Scott and Stewart’s incredible first set performance surprised Paolo and Giogeti, however they quickly regained their concentration in the last two sets and their discipline and structure superseded the enthusiasm and positivity of the Northern Irish Team.
As beach volleyball is very much family orientated, there was entertainment for all ages, including music and dancing, and it wouldn’t sound like Scotland without the bagpipes of the Perth and Kinross District Pipe Band, whose young piper Mark played Flower of Scotland at the medal ceremony. Mark Perkins was marvelous as announcer and commentator, lifting the spirits with good humor and enhancing the already very good atmosphere. As one spectator commented, “it was such a great event. The finals were so entertaining to watch and the atmosphere was brilliant. Well done Scottish Volleyball, and Scottish weather!” Around 1000 people watched the two finals under the sun with temperatures reaching 22 degrees.
In the words of Anneka Hastings, “this is the start of giving Scottish players the opportunities for high level competition and the chance to earn points to get out and try ourselves in the international arenas”.
Reflecting on one of the brightest day in Scottish beach volleyball history, this tournament was a massive success in beautiful weather at beautiful Perth. Scotland’s success in this inaugural event shows the multiple benefits for all small countries in coming together celebrating beach volleyball and inspiring a generation of young athletes to participate .It shows that not only it can be done, but it should be done. This Scottish enlightenment has begun and Perth signifies a golden age of a new tradition…