Aliaksandr Dziadkou triumphant with the gold medals at Gothenburg
Gothenburg, Sweden, April 21, 2019 – Top-seeded Aliaksandr Dziadkou and Pavel Piatrushka lived up to their status and earned the men’s gold at the one-star stop on the 2019 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour in Gothenburg. The Belarusians did so emphatically, without dropping a single set along the way, at the indoor Beach Center in Sweden. This is the second gold and the second medal of any kind for the Belarusian pair on the World Tour. The first time they topped the podium was at Ljubljana in early December. While for experienced 29-year-old Dziadkou this is already the ninth season on the Tour, his 25-year-old teammate Piatrushka has just completed his fourth tournament.
The silver medals went to seventh-seeded Latvians Toms Smedins and Haralds Regza. For either of these two well-seasoned players, this is the best result achieved on the World Tour so far. As a team, 32-year-old Smedins and 26-year-old Regza had one bronze medal finish in 2018. Regza won one more bronze with a different partner back in 2016.
Selcuk Sekerci and Safa Urlu, seeded third, took the last spot on the Gothenburg podium. Before that, the Turkish pair had won only one medal on the World Tour – silver at Ljubljana in December.
The men’s podium at Gothenburg
The gold medal game was a one-sided affair, with Dziadkou and Piatrushka mastering the same convincing result in both sets of the match – 2-0 (21-14, 21-14) - hammered out in 30 minutes of play against Smedins and Regza.
"It is tough to play against Smedins. He is such an experienced player, so to play against him and Regza was very hard,” commented Dziadkou and added, “I can see that Swedes like beach volleyball a lot. This is such a great facility. We have indoor facilities back at home, but much smaller, nothing like this at all."
34-year-old Selcuk Sekerci in reception during the third place game
In a similar fashion, Sekerci and Urlu disappointed the home crowd in the bronze medal match by delivering a 2-0 (21-13, 21-14) shutout of fourth-seeded Swedes Martin Appelgren and Alexander Annerstedt. By making it among the best four of the tournament, the home team had already achieved a historic result for Sweden, but stopped short of reaching the medals.
"The crowd was awesome!” exclaimed Appelgren. “It didn’t matter if we were up by 18-10 or down by 18-10 - they were always cheering on every ball throughout the tournament."
The semifinal between the Turks and the Latvians was the most interesting duel of the day. Smedins and Regza took the advantage by winning the first set, but Sekerci and Urlu recovered to level the score and prompt a tie-break. It was the Latvians that finally emerged with a 2-1 (21-14, 16-21, 15-12) victory to advance to the final. In the earlier semifinal, Dziadkou and Piatrushka claimed a 2-0 (21-17, 21-16) win over Appelgren and Annerstedt.