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The first edition of the World University Beachvolley Championship took place under the sun of Guadaloupe, in the French overseas territories. The town of Le Moule hosted the tournament from 19 to 23 June. Le Moule is a well-known sports centre in the Caribbean that has already organized regional, national and international meets for surfing and kayaking. The success of this first edition was remarkable. Twenty countries came to Guadaloupe for a total of 121 participants, which is unusual and will no doubt encourage other FISU member associations to apply to host a WUC in this discipline.

Top marks for Germany

At the end of a hotly disputed tournament, the two teams facing each other for the final were Germany (Marcus Popp, Erik Koreng) and Thailand (Sonthai Bunrueang, Sataporn Swangrueang). Germany took the day on a score of 21-18, 21-19. The Germans played a cool, regular game throughout. The powerful German services and attack enabled them to dominate the Thais, despite their effective blocks throughout the whole meet. Sataporn, whose spectacular defense was brilliant up to that point, was not able to stop the powerful smashes of his opponents. The Thais committed a significantly higher number of direct errors than in previous games, most of which were very close: they had to draw on all their resources to beat France first in the pool (Christophe Le Berre, Grégory Znatchkovsky) 21-19, 15-20, 13-15) and then in the quarter finals (24-22, 13-21, 15-13) and Italy (Andrea Tomatis, Diego Maria Nota) in the semifinals (21-19, 24-22). While they were at it, Thailand won the hearts of the audience in Guadaloupe with their generous game and spectacular commitment.

The semi-finals opposed them to Switzerland (Philipp Reinmann, Tino Schütz) that they had already beaten by impressive blocks and powerful, accurate services (21-16, 21-16). Marcus Popp (University of Leipzig, first-year economics) 20 years old and Eric Koreng (University of Leipzig, physical and sports activities specializing in management), 21 years old, played together for the first time in 2001 at the German Beach volley championship for players under 22. They signed up for the competition because they play in the same club, the Volleyballverein Leipzig (8th in the Germany first division in 2001) and they won the championship without ever having practiced specifically on sand! They now plan to start by defending the national title in the under 22 group and, if all goes well, to tackle the World Tour circuit next year. They are among the six best teams in Germany and the five others already compete in the World Tour.

Both Germans "loved this world championship". "The organization was superb, the programme for the matches was very well scheduled: 2 matches a day with one day's rest for us before the last day. It was perfect. This might have given us an advantage over Thailand, who played every day in very close matches before they got to the finals, particularly against the French whom they met twice (with one match lost in the pool and a victory in the quarter finals) and the Italians. They made a few more errors than in previous matches and that's why we were able to take it. "The friendly relations between players were great. We all got to know each other right away. We practiced together and that's how our friendship began."

A Double Victory?

Germany was singled out during this world championship, because the women's team also played the final with the United States. Unfortunately, the American team took the day, depriving Germany of a double victory. The score in fact was quite severe: United States (Christine Zartman - Tracy Lindguist) - Germany (Constanze Paul, Carola Stowe): 21-12; 21-12. The Americans played a brilliant game, as they had throughout the entire competition: fast, accurate serves, a good understanding of the opponents' game, mobile defense, regularity, precision and a strong attitude. At the beginning of the first set they won several points as a result of direct errors by Germany, and then took the top hand at the end of the set with a few smash services from Christine. The same scenario won the second game as well.

The Germans impressed the audience with the strength of their attacks, but they were less regular than their opponents and made more errors. In addition, they were quite tired after the close semi-finals played that same morning against China (21-16, 21-17), one of the favourites in the tournament. The Americans played their semifinal against the Mexicans Celina Garcia Gonzalez and Norm Angelica Escobedo Perez, who had a similar style based on defense, with a very rapid movement and vision of the game. They were fast and mobile, but less constant than the Americans with their long experience as a team, since they have been playing together for 11 years. Throughout the entire competition, the Americans lost only one set: against the French Maeva Castori and Deborah Biaoui, that they eliminated in the quarterfinals 21-14, 19-21, 15-11.

Christine Zartman (University of California Los Angeles - UCLA, in sociology and then dietary studies) 18 and Tracy LIndquist (University of Southern California - USC, education) 21 have been playing beach volley together for 11 years. They immediately took the tournament for players under 14. In seven years of junior competition they won the championship for their age group six times. Tracy belongs to her university volleyball team and is now trying out for the United States team. Like Tracy, Christine comes from a beach family. Her father trained the Brazilian team Jackie Silva/Sandra Peres (the first Olympic champions in the discipline in Atlanta). Chrissie also play in the volleyball team at university. The two girls' strong points are service and attack, but they also did some spectacular reception and defense in this world championship, and demonstrated an ironclad mental attitude.

1st WORLD UNIVERSITY BEACH VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

Le Moule, Guadeloupe (France) - June 19th to 23rd, 2002

 

Numbers

Countries: 20

Male Athletes: 46

Female Athletes: 34

Officials: 41

Total Participants: 121

 

RESULTS

MEN

1. Koreng & Popp - GER (2)

2. Bunrueang & Sawangrueang - THA

3. Tomatis & Nota - ITA

4. Reinmann & Schuetz - SUI

5. Ivkovic & Trimcevski - CRO

5. Kais & Kais - EST

5. Znatchkovsky & Le Berre - FRA (1)

5. Miramontes & Hernandez - MEX

9. Goss & Miguel - CAN (1) 10. Beck & Hartmann - GER (1)

11. Weglo & Binstock - CAN (2)

11. Hata & Aibe - JPN (2)

13. Kawa & Suzuki - JPN (1)

13. Fyorduichi & Gutierrez - PER (1)

13. Cibula & Kimijan - SVK

13. Juliao & Paco - POR

17. Goldshury & Ormsby - NZL

17. Figueroa & Correa Saettone - PER (2)

17. Wu & Xie - CHN

17. Arbau & Couchy - FRA

17. Smail & Broome - BAR (1)

17. Straker & Norris - BAR (2)

17. Lewis & McLean - JAM

WOMEN

1. Zartman & Linguist - USA

2. Paul & Stowe - GER

3. Luo & Yang - CHN (1)

4. Garcia Gonzales & Escobedo Perez - MEX

5. Castori & Giaoui - FRA (1)

5. Crettenand & Erni - SUI

5. Haapala & Isomaki - FIN

5. Intuan & Phokongploy - THA

9. Marriot & Moppet - CAN (2)

10. Tamura & Nishidate - JPN

11. Kalebic & Mrse - CRO

11. Hogarth & Moskowitz - CAN (1)

13. Joseph & Taylor - BAR (2)

13. Helekal & Maschler - AUT

13. Li & Zhang - CHN (2)

13. Acina & Berthelot - FRA (2)

17. Seale & Prescod - BAR (1)