2015-06-14 17:30:00 CEST
Brazil claimed its first men’s gold in the Swatch Major Series at Stavanger, Norway on June 14, mirroring the triumph of Brazilian women the night before. Collecting silver and bronze, Poland’s men set a benchmark of their own.
It was experience versus audacity in the gold medal match of the Swatch Beach Volleyball Major Series in Stavanger, Norway on Sunday, as Brazilians Evandro Goncalves and Pedro Solberg Salgado survived a challenge from the breakthrough team of the tournament, Poland’s Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak. Including a win by Brazilian women on Saturday, the Stavanger Major marked the 58th time in the history of the FIVB World Tour that both men and women from Brazil captured gold in the same event.
In chilling temperatures that peaked at 10 degrees C. and biting, 35 km/h winds on Sunday, it was up to Brazil’s men to bring the heat, and they did. With a Norwegian grandfather, Pedro had the crowd on his side, and he and Evandro imposed their dominance early with the crushing blocks they’re famed for. Yet the unrattled Poles kept fighting back. Seeing the chance to earn 800 points toward an Olympic qualifying slot among Brazil’s crowded field, Evandro and Pedro quickly closed it down and clinched a 21-13, 21-14 win in 36 minutes.
“It’s so good to be in first place and take the sword home,“ said Pedro, referring to the coveted Viking blade that is awarded to beach volleyball victors in Stavanger. With analysts already tipping the duo as possible Olympic champions in Rio next year, he added, “Our first goal is to make it to the Games to represent our country, and then we’ll worry about the color of the medal.“
The number 2 seeds, Poland’s Grzegorz Fijalek and Mariusz Prudel, found themselves fighting for the third step of the podium after being defeated by Evandro and Pedro in the morning Semi Finals. They bounced back with a vengeance in the bronze medal bout, handing a 21-13, 21-15 loss to the 29th seed Italians who had stunned the field with their persistence all week, Matteo and Paolo Ingrosso. The 42-minute match put two Polish teams in the medals for the first time in FIVB World Tour history.
On Saturday, Brazilian women took silver as well as gold, with Juliana Felisberta and Maria Antonelli overcoming their countrywomen Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas for top honors. European champions Marleen van Iersel and Madelein Meppelink claimed bronze for the Netherlands.