Ludwig and Walkenhorst retain Euro crown as Lupo and Nicolai become top men

 

Ludwig (left) and Walkenhorst have had plenty to celebrate in recent months

Biel/Bienne, Switzerland, June 5, 2016 – Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst held onto their CEV European Beach Volleyball Championships crown with a straight-sets victory over Marketa Slukova and Barbara Hermannova on Sunday. 

Italy’s Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai matched their achievement when they won the men’s title, two years on from their first success in Sardinia. 

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German joy

The German pair of Ludwig and Walkenhorst beat the Czech duo 2-0 (21-14, 21-15). It means that Ludwig is now the most decorated player in European Championships history with nine medals, four of which are gold. She has now won two with Walkenhorst and two with former partner Sara Goller. 

European success continues a strong run of form for the pair who have been together since Goller stepped down following the London 2012 Olympic Games. They have also won two gold medals on the current FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. 

“It is a great feeling. We really enjoyed playing here and it feels great when everything works just fine on the court as well as behind the scenes,” Ludwig said. “We have been working really hard with our staff and it is a great feeling to see that what we have been doing is paying dividends.”

Fellow Germans Karla Borger and Britta Buthe won bronze with a 2-0 (22-20, 21-17) win over Russia’s Ekaterina Birlova and Evgenia Ukolova. 

Italians back on top

Lupo and Nicolai marked their return to form by beating Russia’s Konstantin Semenov and Viacheslav Krasilnikov 2-1 (21-15, 13-21, 15-12) to claim the European crown. Nicolai underlined that he is back to his best by winning the tournament MVP award. 

The Italian pair added the European gold to the three medals that they have won on the World Tour since the start of the year. It also capped a memorable week in which they were named one of two men’s Italian teams to compete at Rio 2016. 

“I would like to thank all those who are working for us, the members of our team and my partner,” Nicolai said. “Of course we are happy and proud of our second European title.”

Poland’s Mariusz Prudel and Grzegorz Fijalek won bronze with a 2-0 victory against 2013 FIVB world champions Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands.