Xiamen champions Stoyanovskiy & Velichko make their mark on the FIVB World Tour
Nikita Liamin (left) and Igor Velichko from Russia
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Stoyanovskiy/Velichko team up for the first time in 2018 and have securely announced their arrival taking silver in Doha in March and now gold in Xiamen. The young team, Stoyanovskiy at 21 years old and Velichko at 22 years old, overcame teammates Krasilnikov/Liamin in a nervous final to secure the two set win.
“I’m so excited I can’t speak normally, it’s really wonderful, it’s my first gold medal for the World Tour, the previous four medals I got where not as high as this, so I’m very happy also,” said Stoyanovskiy.
The two Russian teams gave the crowds in Xiamen a show in the gold medal match as they clashed in a fierce battle. Training together, each team was working to exploit their knowledge of their opponent and it was Stoyanovskiy/Velichko who were able to get ahead in the first.
Oleg Stoyanovskiy (left) and Igor Velichko from Russia during the Xiamen final
In the second Stoyanovskiy/Velichko had a comfortable lead, but began to lose their cool and lose the lead in the closing stages, allowing Krasilnikov/Liamin to creep back into the match. Managing to hold their nerve they finally took the day and their first gold.
“We had to come out very strong against this Russian team and that’s how we won today,” said Velichko.
“This match against our teammates is always very nervous because we know each other very well. We train together, we know the strong sides of each player so you saw it, it was a little nervous,” said Stoyanovskiy.
“It’s a very important medal for us because it’s only our third tournament and I can’t believe that we could win a gold medal,” said Stoyanovskiy.
The bronze medal match pitted Brazil’s Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt against Piotr Kantor and Batorsz Losiak from Poland.
Olympic champions Alison/Bruno Schmidt best recent result was bronze at the Porec Major five-star last July and the team achieved the same result in Xiamen defeating the Polish team, 2-0 (21-15, 21-13).
Entering the bronze medal match, the odds were against Xiaman top seeds Kantor/Losiak, the two teams having played each other eight times in the past, with Kantor/Losiak yet to take a win against the Brazilians.
Alison/Bruno Schmidt looked strong in the first set, the pair back to form from where they were lacking in the previous days semifinal.
Bruno Oscar Schmidt from Brazil serves during the bronze medal match
Kantor/Losiak worked hard to disrupt the rhythm of the Brazilians, but they continued to fly in the second, earning the bronze in 31 minutes.
“Since the end of last year, we decided to push ourselves each tournament and especially it doesn’t matter the result, you know Bruno & Alison also have to be successful have to be successful in every tournament and also the Brazilian people respect that. But today it’s so good when you finish pushing ourselves as much as possible and like we did today on the last day of this event and I hope we continue like that. That’s going to show how competitive we’re going to be this year,” said Bruno Schmidt.
Alison Cerutti (left) from Brazil and Bartosz Losiak from Poland
“As you can see both teams were so tired, yesterday we had three matches which is a bit much for an event like this with this level of volleyball. They started to switch the block, but we knew that we needed to push ourselves and forget that we are tired from yesterday and we were successful with that. We saw that they were feeling it more than us and we pushed it for our advantage,” said Bruno Schmidt.
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