Nanjing, China, July 12, 2017 – Mees Blom and Ruben Penninga from the Netherlands came from behind to beat Iran’s Alireza Aghajanighasab and Javad Firouzpourbandpei in a hard fought battle at the 2017 FIVB U21 Beach Volleyball World Championships.
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Under punishing conditions in the midday heat, Blom/Penninga faced A.Aghajani/Javad.F in their opening pool D main draw match. The Dutch team are regular partners who have already played two FIVB World Tour events this year in Kish Island and The Hague.
While the Iranian team are new on the world stage, they showed their strength at the 2017 Asian U21 Beach Volleyball Championships with a final four finish.
A. Aghajani/Javad.F started strong as the Dutch team were trying to figure out their tactics in the heat. Blom/Penninga regrouped in the second set, but the solid Iranians were in the match until the very end, 2-1 (12-21, 21-16, 16-14). Mees Blom from the Netherlands (red) and Iran's Javad Firouzpourbandpei
“I’m glad we won but we are destroyed,” said Penninga.
“It was hard to deal with the weather because in Holland it’s normally cold so we never play in this kind of weather. When the sun comes out it’s really heavy to keep your head in the game. But we did really well, the first set was a little bit shaky and after that we could continue with our good game,” said Blom.
“We didn’t know the Iranian team, so with the weather we were just trying to play our own game,” said Penninga.
“It was difficult because we didn’t have a plan and we had to make a plan and with this kind of weather it was difficult because to think about what plan you need to make against your opponents, it’s difficult to think in 40 degrees,” said Blom.
The win for Blom/Penninga places the Dutch team second in pool D, behind Brazil’s Gabriel Heilborn Gouveia and Rafael Jose Mendonca de Queiroz who defeated Norwegian pair Jakob Solgaard Thelle and Aleksander Sandlie Sorum, 2-0 (21-13, 21-17). Brazil's Rafael José Mendonça de Queiroz (left) and Gabriel Heilborn Gouveia
China’s top team Liu Chuanyong and Yan Tingyang posted their first pool win defeating Austria’s Fabian Kindl Moritz and Marian Klaffinger, 2-0 (21-17, 21-19). The two teams met on centre court in the noonday heat after Kindl/Klaffinger earned the lucky loser spot to enter the main draw.
The Chinese team fully utilised their height over the Austrians and the win places them in second position in pool A in their first international tournament.
“I am especially excited because I won the match here in Nanjing which is my home town,” said Yan.
“We’re happy to win, we had strong opponents but we did well by withholding their attacks,” said Liu. China's Chuanyong Liu (right) and Austra's Moritz Fabian Kindl
“We have not played against international teams before, but we were fully prepared for the match. We were always careful to execute every move and make use of ours skills,” said Yan.
“I’m lucky to have a partner like him. He has more experience than me and helped me a lot. It was not easy for us to win,” said Liu.USA's Clay Messenger (left) and Adam Wienckowski
The leader of pool A is USA’s Clay Messenger and Adam Wienckowski after they beat Nicolas Velluti Morales and Fabian Guerra Esquival 2-0 (21-13, 21-15).
The men’s pool play concludes on 13 July when the top three teams from each pool will proceed into the single elimination phase.