BEACH VOLLEYBALL: Russia and Canada finally claim World Championship titles in Hamburg

The men's podium at the 2019 FIVB World Beach Champs (Photo: FIVB)

The traditional power in Beach Volleyball – Brazil – got shut out of the medals at the 2019 World Championships in Hamburg and instead, it was Russia and Canada which walked away with the top honors.

A Brazilian team, either men or women, had won a medal at each FIVB World Beach Championships at each Worlds since 2007, but none made it to the semifinals in Germany. On Saturday, the Canadian duo of Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes who became Canada’s first-ever World Beach Champions by out-lasting the U.S. pair of Alix Klineman and April Ross, 23-21, 23-21.

“There are no words,” said Humana-Paredes. “The last two weeks have been incredible. We had to fight our way here. It wasn’t an easy route at all and that makes it even more special. It wasn’t pretty at times; it wasn’t the best we’ve ever played but we managed to stay together and fight. It was all heart, we wanted this so bad and now we have it, and it’s the best feeling ever.

“You dream of this moment and you try to think of something smart to say, but you can’t because you don’t know what to say because it’s indescribable.”

Ross won a bronze medal with Kerri Walsh-Jennings at Rio in 2016 and is now poised to contend for another medal in Tokyo in 2020 with Klineman.

“I’m pretty upset,” Ross said afterwards. “To get here and have it be Alix’s first World Championships, it would have been so amazing to win the gold.

“We’re obviously very happy to win a silver medal at the World Championships. This is the best I’ve ever done at a World Championships in an Olympic qualifying year by far, and it goes a long way toward Tokyo so we’re proud about that.

“But it stings to not have a gold at World Championships. For me even more it doesn’t matter what match it was, it was how I played, how we played as a team and to not pull that out, it hurts a lot.”

The favored men’s team of Anders Mol and Christian Sorum (NOR) was upset in the semifinals by Julius Thole and Clemens Wickler of Germany, playing before an overflow crowd of 12,000 in the Am Rothenbaum Stadium. The Germans were cheered, but fell in the final to Russia’s Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Viacheslav Krasilnikov, 10-21, 21-17, 15-11.

It was the first-ever World Beach Championships gold for Russia and Krasilnikov moved up from bronze in 2017, when he was paired with Nikita Liamen. Stoyanovskiy became the youngest-ever World Champion at 22, said afterwards, “It’s very amazing for him because he was upset after last World Championships in Vienna after the semifinal. This is an achievement for him.”

The U.S. pair of Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb were edged by the Russians in three sets in the semis and then by Mol and Sorum in three sets in the bronze-medal match and finished fourth. However, it’s the first time the U.S. has had both men’s and women’s teams in the medal round at the Worlds since 2009, when Ross won the world title with Jen Kessy, and Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers won the bronze medal. Summaries:

FIVB World Championships
Hamburg (GER) ~ 28 June-7 July 2019
(Full results here)

Men: 1. Oleg Stoyanovskiy/Viacheslav Krasilnikov (RUS); 2. Julius Thole/Clemens Wickler (GER); 3. Anders Mol/Christian Sorum (NOR); 4. Tri Bourne/Trevor Crabb (USA). Semis: Stoyanovskiy/Krasilnikov d. Bourne/Crabbe, 2-1; Thole/Wickler d. Mol/Sorum, 2-1. Third: Mol/Sorum d. Bourne/Crabb, 2-1. Final: Stoyanovskiy/Krasilnikov d. Thole/Wickler, 2-1 (19-21, 21-17, 15-11).

Women: 1. Sarah Pavan/Melissa Humana-Paredes (CAN); 2. Alix Klineman/April Ross (USA); 3. Taliqua Clancy/Mariafe Artacho del Solar (AUS); 4. Nina Betschart/Tanja Huberli (SUI). Semis: Klineman/Ross d. Artacho del Solar, 2-0; Pavan/Melissa d. Betschart/Huberli, 2-1. Third: Clancy/Artacho del Solar d. Betschart/Huberli, 2-0. Final: Pavan/Melissa d. Klineman/Ross, 2-0 (23-21, 23-21).