Brazil’s Gabriel & Rafael delighted with U21 World Champs main draw

 Nanjing, China, July 11, 2017 – Gabriel Heilborn Gouveia and Rafael Jose Mendonca de Queiroz from Brazil were overjoyed to enter the 2017 FIVB U21 Beach Volleyball World Championships main draw under steaming hot conditions in Nanjing.

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In the Brazilian pairs first tournament together, they first met Australia’s Justin Schumann and Mitchell Wakefield in the 34 degree heat of the day. Gabriel/Rafael beat the spirited Australians 2-1 (18-21, 21-18, 15-10), but needed to quickly regain their energy after the 50 minute match.

In the final qualification round the Brazilian team faced Fabien Kindl Moritz and Marian Klaffinger from Austria. The Austrians struggled to get a foothold against the strong Brazilian team and Gabriel/Rafael secured their spot in the main draw, 2-0 (21-16, 21-13).

Jose Mendonca de Queiroz has already won a major age-group title at the U19 World Championships in 2016 alongside a different partner, Renato, but the Gabriel/Rafael were clearly delighted with their result.
Gabriel Heilborn Gouveia (right) and Rafael Jose Mendonca de Queiroz from Brazil
“It’s a dream come true and I’m very happy and I’m very excited to play tomorrow,” said Gabriel.

“I just want to get to my phone to tell my parents, I’m so happy right now, I don’t know what to say, my feeling is so great,” said Rafael.

“We had a slow start but we had never seen these guys and they had never seen us and they played really well. It’s a hard team to beat, they served really good and their defence was good too. It’s also really hot, we played against Australia under the sun. It’s like this for everybody, but it’s really hard to play here,” said Rafael.

Spain’s Oscar Jimenez Gutierrez and Alejandro Huerta Pastor were the next team to enter the main draw. Jimenez and Huerta have a lot of experience as a team, playing together consistently since 2014 with their best result, silver at the U19 World Championships in 2014.

Spain's Alejandro Huerta Pastor
The Spanish pair first defeated Sudan’s Hussein Hassan and Mahmoud Babiker in the tie-break 2-1 (21-18, 19-21, 15-4) and then met Poland’s Michal Szablowicz and Bartlomiej Krzyzanowski in the final qualification round.
Jimenez/Huerta A. fully utilised their advantage as an experienced pair to close out the match 2-0 (21-17, 21-19).

“For us it was really difficult to play under these conditions, the weather is so hot. We arrived here two days ago, so we have a bit of trouble with the time difference and we can’t sleep a lot, but anyway that’s not an excuse. We had to play well and now we’re happy to get into the main draw,” said Huerta A.

“The match was very hard because our side out was a little difficult. But we’re feeling emotional now, it’s a good result,” said Jimenez.

"We hope that we can do our best, we normally are in the top ten, so we’re hoping for top five and we’re going to fight to get it,” said Huerta A.

Russia's Anton Saraev
Sergey Gorbenko and Anton Saraev from Russia enter the main draw in their first tournament together, defeating Thailand’s Phichakon Narathon and Akkarapon Tumdee 2-1 (21-17, 14-21, 15-8) in the second round and then meeting USA brothers seventeen-year-old Marcus Partain and sixteen-year-old Miles Partain.

Partain/Partain are certainly a young team to watch out for in the future as they were the only team of the day to make it all the way from round one to round three in the qualification tournament, but despite putting up a tough fight, the Russians secured the main draw position winning 2-0 (21-18, 21-11).

Italy's Jakob Windisch
The final main draw spot was awarded to Italy’s Paolo Cappio and Jakob Windisch after their competitors, Mecit Eryilmaz and Huseyin Yildirim Hasan from Turkey were forced to pull out after their gruelling round two match, the longest of the day at 54 minutes, against England’s Harry Jones and Nathan Fullerton.

The main draw action begins on 12 July with the each men’s team playing in one pool match.


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