08/07/2018 20:13
Iemelianchyk and Popov secure historic gold medal for Ukraine in Poreč
2018 CEV Beach Volleyball Satellite - Poreč

Poreč, Croatia, July 8, 2018. Teams from the United States and Ukraine claimed the top honours from the 1-Star event held in Poreč as they beat opponents from Ukraine and Austria, respectively, in the women’s and men’s gold medal matches, respectively. Vladyslav Iemelianchyk and Sergiy Popov made history for Ukraine as they secured their country’s first-ever gold medal from a FIVB World Tour event.  

Competing in their first-ever FIVB World Tour event as players and as a team, American collegiate standouts Emily Sonny/Torrey Van Winden from Cal Poly won seven-straight Poreč Open matches en route to winning the 1-Star event held in the Croatian coastal city with a victory over Inna and Iryna Makhno of the Ukraine.

In becoming the 16th team in the 27-season, 364-event history of the women’s FIVB World Tour to win a gold medal after playing in an event’s qualification to earn a spot in the Main Draw, Sonny and Van Winden posted a 2-0 (21-17, 21-17) win in 33 minutes over the third-seeded Makhnos to capture the Poreč Open title.

“It was our very first World Tour event ever; we came in as the 16th qualification team and we had a very tough match to just get into the Main Draw,” Emily Sonny said. “Once we got into the Main Draw, I think we found our rhythm. We are a new partnership, so I think our success comes from a little bit of beginners’ luck and a lot of fun. The arena is absolutely beautiful; neither my partner nor me had ever been to Croatia before. We had heard from our coach, Todd Rogers that this is one of his favourite events to play in. We were just excited that we got into the qualification; the water is beautiful, the weather has been great and the people have been amazing, so we are just so happy that we got the opportunity to play.”

The gold medal winners of the women’s competition, Emily Sonny and Torrey Van Winden of USA

To reach the Poreč finale, Sonny and Van Winden posted a 2-1 (19-21, 21-10, 15-9) win in 44 minutes over Dimitra Manavi/Konstantina Tsopoulou of Greece while the Makhnos scored a 2-1 (21-14, 17-21, 16-14) victory in 46 minutes in their semi-final against fifth-seeded Merve Nezir/Aleyna Vence of Turkey.

The Turkish pair recovered to win the bronze medal by edging Manavi and Tsopoulou 2-1 (22-20, 21-23, 15-13) in the 55 minute third-place match. It was Nezir and Vence’s second FIVB medal this season after placing third two weeks ago at the World Tour event in Manavgat, Turkey.

Vladyslav Iemelianchyk and Sergiy Popov recovered from a first-round pool play setback Friday to Slovenia’s Danijel Pokeršnik/Tadej Boženk to win five-straight Poreč Open matches to capture the Ukraine’s first-ever men’s or women’s gold medal on the FIVB World Tour.

Seeded ninth in the Poreč Open, Iemelianchyk and Popov completed their five-match winning streak by upsetting top-seeded Simon Frühbauer and Jörg Wutzl of Austria 2-1 (21-19, 17-21, 21-19) in the 53-minute gold medal match.

Sergiy Popov (right) and Vladyslav Iemelianchyk portrayed during the men’s gold medal match

“I am happy with the performance and with the opportunity we had to play in this very nice city,” Sergiy Popov said. “The people are nice too and everything has been good. As for the match with the Austrians, it was not an easy one, but we were able to win and we are obviously very happy with this success.”

With the men’s international circuit starting in 1987 and women's play beginning in 1992, the best-ever finishes for the Ukraine were a 2008 women’s silver for Svitlana Baburina/Galyna Osheyko in Klagenfurt, Austria, and a bronze by Oleksii Denin/Denys Denysenko earlier this season (June 3) in Alanya, Turkey.

Iemelianchyk and Popov’s best previous FIVB finish together was a fifth in Turkey at the start of June in Alanya.  Entering the Poreč finale, the Austrians had claimed 20 of 29 World Tour matches this season highlighted by an April 29 gold medal win in Langkawi, Malaysia.

To reach the men’s finale, Iemelianchyk and Popov defeated fifth-seeded Mihails Samoilovs/Kristaps Smits of Latvia 2-0 (21-16, 21-16) in Sunday’s second semi-final match in 32 minutes.  Frühbauer and Wutzl advanced to their second FIVB gold medal match with a 2-0 (21-13, 21-14) win in 29 minutes over sixth-seeded Haralds Regza/Toms Smedins of Latvia.

In the all-Latvian bronze medal match, Regza and Smedins defeated Samoilovs and Smits 2-0 (21-14, 25-23) in 34 minutes.  The win lifted Smedins to his first-ever World Tour podium appearance while Regza was securing his second FIVB World Tour medal after placing third with Martins Plavins at the 2015 Antalya Open in Turkey.

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News nr. 1 of 7
08/07/2018 09:00:00
Teams from six countries chase Poreč 1-Star event gold medals

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