A newbie & the veteran top World Tour podiums


Exciting times on Sunday at the Ljubljana Winter Edition Open where teams from Belarus and Greece topped the podiums at the FIVB World Tour event.

Lausanne, Switzerland, December 3, 2018 - The calendar year for events on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour ended Sunday in Slovenia with a player competing in his first-ever event on the international circuit sharing the spotlight with a three-time Olympian returning to action for the first time since 2016.

The Ljubljana Winter Edition Open completed the 2018 portion of the 2018-2019 FIVB World Tour schedule as the international beach volleyball circuit resumes from January 2-6, 2019 in the Netherlands for another indoor event in The Hague. The Slovenia event marked the ninth men's and eighth women's tournament on the 2019-2019 World Tour calendar.

Before Belarus' Pavel Piatrushka made history by winning an FIVB men's gold medal in his first-ever World Tour event with new partner Aliaksandr Dziadkou, Vasiliki Arvaniti of Greece completed her 163rd appearance on the international circuit by topping the podium with Penny Karagkouni at the Ljubljana Winter Edition Open on Sunday in the Slovenian capital.

Pavel Piatrushka (right) and Belarus partner Aliaksandr Dziadkou

Piatrushka and Dziadkou also made history for their country as the pair secured Belarus its first-ever final four appearance at a World Tour event along with netting the European country's first-ever podium placement and gold medal since the start of FIVB-sanctioned events in February 1987.

Arvaniti's appearance in Ljubljana marked her return to the FIVB World Tour since competing last in 2016 with Karagkouni as the pair placed ninth on July 29 at the Klagenfurt, Austria. Only three players (Talita Antunes of Brazil, 165, Natalie Cook of Australia, 164 and Doris Schwaiger of Austria, 164) have competed in more World Tour events that Arvaniti.

Vasiliki Arvaniti of Greece

Here are Sunday’s results

Slovenia - Ljubljana, November 29-December 2, 2018, €5,000, FIVB women's event No. 383
1. Vasiliki Arvaniti/Penny Karagkouni, Greece, €1,000
2. Urte Andriukaityte/Vytene Vitkauskaite, Lithuania, €700
3. Diana Lunina/Maryna Samoday, Ukraine, €500
4. Varvara Brailko/Anete Namike, Latvia, €400
Gold - Arvaniti/Karagkouni def. Andriukaityte/Vitkauskaite, 21-18, 21-15 (32 minutes)
Bronze - Lunina/Samoday def. Brailko/Namike, 21-14, 21-15 (31)

The Ljubljana Winter Edition Open women's podium

Slovenia - Ljubljana, November 29-December 2, 2018, €5,000, FIVB men's event No. 418
1. Aliaksandr Dziadkou/Pavel Piatrushka, Belarus, €1,000
2. Selcuk Sekerci/Sefa Urlu, Turkey, €700
3. Paul Burnett/Maximilian Guehrer Australia, €500
4. Robin Sowa/Eric Stadie, Germany, €400
Gold - Dziadkou/Piatrushka def. Sekerci/Urlu, 21-19, 21-16 (33) 
Bronze - Burnett/Guehrer def Sowa/Stadie, 16-21, 21-9, 16-14 (40)

The Ljubljana Winter Edition Open men's podium