Russia and Switzerland triumph at 1-Star event in Ljubljana

Monday 6th of August 2018



Ljubljana, Slovenia, August 5, 2018. On Sunday night, Russia’s Valeriy Samoday and Taras Myskiv upset the sell-out crowd in attendance at Congress Square as they defeated home stars Jan Pokeršnik and Nejc Zemljak in the men’s gold medal match of the 1-Star/Satellite event held in the Slovenian capital. Youngsters Esmée Böbner and Zoé Vergé-Dépré from Switzerland claimed the gold medal in the women’s competition. 

The goodbye to all three Czech teams competing in the quarterfinals of the women’s tournament came rather as a surprise at the beginning of another intense day. Inna and Iryna Makhno from Ukraine, Switzerland’s Esmée Böbner/Zoé Vergé-Dépré and Poland’s Agata Ceynowa/Martyna Kloda made it to the semi-finals alongside local favourites Ana Skarlovnik and Jelena Pešić, who lost the next match against the Swiss team by 0-2 (17-21, 20-22). The other finalists became the Makhno twin sisters, who outplayed the Polish duo in the second semi and claimed a 2-0 (27-25, 21-14) win.

Skarlovnik and Pešić started the third place match determined to conquer the podium and did not allow Ceynowa and Kloda to stop them on their way to the bronze medal. The comfortable 2-0 (21-13, 21-19) win was enough for the Slovenians to start the celebration. “We are so happy we claimed a bronze medal! We are slowly ending our Beach Volleyball careers, but the love for the sport is just too strong and we keep coming back. We still feel good on the sand, we prepared well for the game and delivered a solid performance,” Pešić said after the match. 

Local favourites Ana Skarlovnik and Jelena Pešić celebrate their bronze medal winning performance 

The Makhno twins fought hard, but Böbner and Vergé-Dépré proved that they were just too strong and claimed the gold medal after a 2-0 (21-16, 21-17) win. Vergé-Dépré was very pleased with the outcome of the tournament: “We had so much fun playing together! This was our first World Tour final and we made it all the way to the top. It was an unforgettable experience. The other teams did well also, but we analysed them pretty good and it worked out.”

Esmée Böbner (SUI) looking delighted at her performance 

In the men’s competition, both of the Slovenian teams still in contention emerged victorious from their respective quarterfinal matches and pleased the home crowd that was cheering for them despite the heat wave that Ljubljana has been dealing with this weekend. Although Danijel Pokeršnik and Tadej Boženk lost the first marathon set against Austria’s Thomas Kunert and Peter Eglseer by 35-37, they managed to overturn the game and progressed to the semi-finals. In order to reach the gold medal match, Jan Pokeršnik and Nejc Zemljak defeated Florian Breer and Yves Haussener from Switzerland in two straight sets (22-20, 21-15). 

A full house in Ljubljana s Congress Square for the final stages of the 1-Star/Satellite Beach Volleyball tournament 

The other semi-final did not end according to the wishes of the Slovenian fans, because Valeriy Samoday and Taras Myskiv stopped Pokeršnik and Boženk on their way to the grand finale. Slovenia’s duo gave it all but eventually failed to claim third place at least; Breer and Haussener edged them by 2-1 (17-21, 21-13, 15-10). The joy after the win was enormous for the Swiss: “This season we already had some fourth places and last week we had quite a difficult time at the U22 European Championship in Latvia. We did not get a medal there and maybe that is why we are supper happy now with this third place. We accomplished our goal and I can say we had a great tournament,” Haussener commented their victory.

Gold medal winners Valeriy Samoday (left) and Taras Myskiv of Russia 

The last act of the tournament took place in front of fully packed stands at Congress Square. The home matadors Zemljak and Pokeršnik fought hard, but Russia’s Samoday and Myskiv took all the glory with a 2-0 (21-14, 21-17) victory. They were extremely happy with the first place. Samoday could not find the words to describe how happy he was with his successful comeback to international competition after four years. His partner Myskiv, a reigning Snow Volleyball European champion, added: “This was a really successful tournament for us, especially as we did not expect to win. This was the first tournament for my partner after an extremely long break and we even had to play the qualification. I am so happy that we managed to go all the way to the end and win here in Ljubljana.”

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