The 13th edition of the international Beach Volleyball tournament annually held in Vaduz ended happily and successfully on Sunday. Slovenia’s Nejc Zemljak/Jan Pokeršnik took top honours from the men’s competition, after on Saturday night Nicole Eiholzer/Dunja Gerson of Switzerland had stood on top of the women’s podium. As many as 16,000 spectators found their way to the Städtle as Beach Volleyball took centre stage in Vaduz for 10 days.
The concept of the Beacharena with many tournaments taking place at the same venue received positive reviews from sponsors and fans alike. The SCD European Championships, the already well-established CEV Satellite tournament and the Youth Continental Cup qualifier, where youth teams fought for qualification to the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, offered an exciting mix of different Beach Volleyball events. What remained unchanged is the appeal of Beach Volleyball, which has many fans thanks to its unique mix of power, finesse and beach ambiance.
On the last day of the Beacharena 2017, 4,000 fans came to the stadium in Vaduz downtown. The weather offered the best conditions the organisers and players could wish to have. Zemljak and Pokeršnik, number 9 of the tournament, had the opportunity to make amends for their loss to Italy’s Marco Caminati and Enrico Rossi in Round 3. They managed to achieve their goal emerging victorious from a truly exciting final match (2-1; 20-22, 21-12, 18-16). To get there they had to defeat the German team Sebastian Fuchs/Alexander Walkenhorst and the Englishmen Chris Gregory/Jake Sheaf in the semi-finals. They did so in emphatic style. “In Round 3 we lost quite clearly to Caminati and Rossi, but this time around we had the upper hand. Fantastic. After analysing the previous match, we served more often on Caminati and were more successful. We played for the first time in Vaduz, but we can say that the tournament, the stadium and the atmosphere were great.”
France’s Arnaud Loiseau/Arnaud Gauthier-Rat won the bronze medal with an outstanding performance as well. They won their second CEV Satellite medal this year after taking gold at the event held in Göteborg in April. They first beat Switzerland’s Nico Beeler/Marco Krattiger 2-1 (21-17, 16-21, 21-19) in a hot but fair fight early in the morning, and said quite modestly: “The Swiss are a real top team and have beaten so many elite pairs lately. We were the absolute underdogs, wanted to learn from them today and play as best as we could. The fact that we won is simply fantastic.” They applied the principle popularised by Michael Jordan: I never lose; I either win or learn. In the semi-final, they “learned” from the Italians Caminati/Rossi and had to be content with playing the bronze medal match. Loiseau and Gauthier-Rat finally celebrated with the bronze medals after edging Gregory/Sheaf in the small final. “We are very proud with winning bronze here in Vaduz,” the Frenchmen said. “The level of the tournament was incredibly high, and it was the best Satellite we have ever played in. It was great fun, thank you.”
Spain’s Clara Soler Alcocer/Tania Moreno Matveeva finished first in the women’s Youth Continental Cup qualifier after beating Austria’s Ronja Klinger/Laetitia Dirnhofer in the final. Sweden’s Joel Andersson/David Åhman topped the men’s podium after edging Austria’s Theo Reiter/Lorenz Leitner in the final. The top two teams from each gender will contest next year’s Finals and try to qualify to the 2018 Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires.
The Swedes emphasised the importance of this success: “This victory means a lot to us and gives us a lot of self-confidence for the next stage of the qualification process. Our goal was to keep the Austrians away from the net with strong serves in order to disrupt their game. We succeeded in doing so.”
“The weather could have been somewhat better in the second week. The 13th edition of our event was still a very happy one,” the President of the Organising Committee, Philippe Schürmann said. “The new stadium with a covered catering area has already proved itself at the first time, and the Satellite tournament was one of the best we have ever had. After all, everything worked well and I hope we could offer Vaduz 10 days of fantastic Beach Volleyball. We had 16,000 spectators in 10 days. Thanks to all our loyal partners and the 250 volunteers we need in order to deliver this event.”