Vienna, Austria, August 1, 2018 – Things can change quickly in beach volleyball and the Grimalt cousins Marco and Esteban are the most recent example of it. Just two days after winning the first ever FIVB World Tour gold medal for their country in Tokyo, the Chileans are competing in the qualification tournament of the $600,000 A1 Major Vienna presented by Swatch.
The Rio 2016 Olympians were one of the 16 men’s teams to win their opening match in the Austrian tournament as they posted a 2-0 (23-21, 21-16) victory over Sweden’s Martin Appelgren and Simon Bohman.
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They will play Switzerland’s Marco Krattiger and Nico Beeler in the next round for a spot in the main draw.
“It was a tough match for us from a physical standpoint as we played last week in Japan and had a long trip here,” Esteban commented. “The qualifiers are always hard and it was encouraging that we played at a good level in our first match. We found a good rhythm and will need to keep it against Switzerland. They missed a few tournaments because Marco was injured but returned playing really well in the European Championships.”
If their physical conditions might have been negatively affected by the demanding tournament they played in Japan, their morale was certainly boosted by the unprecedented gold medal. And they want to keep the momentum going on the Danube Island as the Rio 2016 Olympians are looking forward to their best finish in a Major event in 2018 after finishing 25th in Fort Lauderdale and 33rd in Gstaad.
“Winning in Japan was very important for us,” Esteban added. “It was the first gold medal for a Chilean team and we’re proud we made it. It gives us a huge motivation to keep fighting for our goals. We’ve played a lot of qualification tournaments this year and most of the times it went all right, but we lost the last one in Gstaad and it was good to win in Tokyo right after it as it didn’t let our confidence be down for much longer.”