2019 Review: History in the making as Snow Volleyball World Tour springs to life
Wagrain-Kleinarl centre court during a World Tour match
Having adopted the official rules of snow volleyball, transforming it from a two-a-side to a three-a-side discipline, the FIVB was ready for the next step in the development of the sport – bringing to life a World Tour involving teams from all five continents.
A lot of history has already been written in the Austrian winter resort of Wagrain-Kleinarl, considered the birthplace of professional snow volleyball, so it was only natural that the first-ever World Tour event took place there, at the iconic venue next to the Flying Mozart Mountain Station at an altitude of above 1,800 metres.
On the morning of March 28, 2019, the first whistle was blown and the historic first World Tour rally was played on centre court in Wagrain-Kleinarl. The first action was a women’s qualification match between Romania and Sweden, the southern Europeans winning it with a monster block.
Champions Russia (Olga Motrich, Anna Romashova, Olga Filina and Polina Lapteva), runners-up USA and bronze medalists Argentina stood proud on the first World Tour podium. An all-Austrian men’s final sparked snow volleyball fever among the home fans who packed the stands around the centre court. Austria 1, or Florian Schnetzer, Alexander Huber, Martin Streitfellner and Christoph Dressler, triumphed after a 2-0 (15-11, 15-10) win over compatriots Felix Friedl, Arwin Kopschar and Maximilian Trummer to claim the historic men’s title. Russia settled for bronze.
On the men’s side, the team of USA 2 (Maddison McKibbin, Riley McKibbin and Troy Field) started from the very bottom of the qualification list and won seven matches in a row, including a spectacular 2-1 (9-15, 15-13, 22-20) victory over Russia in the final, to triumph with the gold medals. The bronze went to Poland.
Leo Aveiro, Fabrizio Mario Satriano, Sebastian Fernandez and Ramiro Nunyez, participating as Argentina 2, dethroned the American champions from the previous tournament in Italy with a thrilling 2-1 (10-15, 20-18, 15-11) comeback in the men’s gold medal match, after the team of Argentina 1 had secured the bronze. A brilliant Brazilian line-up, consisting of beach volleyball stars Juliana Felisberta Da Silva, Josemari Alves and Taina Silva Bigi, stopped Argentina 2 with a 2-0 (15-7, 15-10) shutout in the women’s final, while the ladies of Argentina 1 settled for yet another bronze.
“The adrenalin was amazing!” exclaimed Giba at the end.
Snow Volleyball Festival will start from 10:00am CET on 18-19 January, and feature volleyball legends such as indoor Olympic gold medallists Giba and Vladimir Grbic, as well as beach volleyball Olympic champion Julius Brink, demonstrating their skills and offering snow volleyball masterclasses.
For more information on Snow Volleyball Festival, please click here.
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