Strong Russian teams with gold and silver at Xiamen – another win for Pavan/Humana-Paredes
Russia dominated the men’s competition at the FIVB 4-star at Xiamen, China. In an all-Russian final, Oleg Stoyanovskiy (21) and Igor Velichko (22) beat their compatriots Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Nikita Liamin, the 2017 World Championship bronze medallists. It is the first FIVB gold medal win in the third appearance for the young Russian team. After taking early leads in both sets, it was a close call in the end with the better ending for the youngsters (21:18, 21:19). Stoyanovskiy:
“It’s really wonderful that the two teams from Russia made it to the final, we know each other very well. It is my first gold medal and I am so happy.”
In the semifinals of a competition featuring many of the world’s top teams, Stoyanovskiy/Velichko had defeated top seeds Kantor/Losiak from Poland to ensure their second final in a row after winning silver at Doha in March. In the second semifinal, Krasilnikov/Liamin had shown a strong performance beating current Olympic champions Alison/Bruno Schmidt (Brazil) in the tie-break 15:10. The Brazilians managed at least to reach the podium after beating Kantor/Losiak in the bronze medal match.
On the women’s side, three U.S. teams made it to the quarterfinals: Sara Hughes & Summer Ross, April Ross & Alexandra Klineman and Kelly Claes and Brittany Hochevar. Claes/Hochevar made it into the gold medal match after beating Commonwealth Games silver medallists Mariafe Del Solar Artacho and Taliqua Clancy (Australia) who later won the bronze medal. In the final Claes/Hochevar had a good start against Commonwealth gold medal winners and top seeds Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes from Canada. But after taking an early time out, the Canadians came back strong as usual and won another gold medal (21:19, 21:14). With the exact same result, the Canadians had beaten Agatha/Duda from Brazil in the semifinals. Humana-Paredes:
“After the Commonwealth Games it is great to be on top again. That is what we work for. We fight together and I am learning so much from Sarah.”