Zoi Konstantopoulou from Cyprus

Successful Start for the Women's Team from Cyprus

Monday, 9th July, marked the start of the ninth World University Beach Volleyball Championship (WUBC) in Munich's Olympic Park. 64 men's and women's teams from 29 different countries opened the tournament at 9 a.m., including two men's and women's teams from Germany.

On the first match day, Olivier Barthelemy and Romain Di Giantommaso from France already established themselves as serious contenders to win the tournament. With convincing matches against Colton Cowell and Brett Rosenmeier from the United States and Simon Mosimann and Raphael Scheidegger from Switzerland, they played their way to the top of Group E.

The women's team from Cyprus, comprising Manolina Konstantinou and Zoi Konstantopoulou, also emerged undefeated from their first two matches. Thanks to their strong block play, they prevailed in three sets against the Polish team of Marta Duda and Marta Lodej, as well as the German team of Leonie Körtzinger and Leonie Klinke. The two Germans put up a good fight to the final point in the decisive third set, but ultimately had to admit defeat with a score of 15:13.

Körtzinger and Klinke are now under pressure to win the third game if they want to prevent an early exit from the tournament. "The two close defeats were a real pity, but we were able to work a lot on our teamwork. Tomorrow, we will reap the reward for that," Leonie Klinke sums up the first day of the tournament.

The second German women's duo consisting of Julika Hoffmann and Lisa-Sophie Kotzan started with a victory against the French team of Ophélie Lusson and Mia Severine Guyot Polverini, and a defeat against the US-Americans Emily Sonny and Torrey Van Winden. Sonny and Van Winden also gave an impressive performance in their second game, defeating the Latvians Ruta Treija and Alise Elizabete Pastare in two sets.

Things went better for the German men. The twin brothers Bennet and David Poniewaz beat the Saudi Arabians Dhia Ali Alkhawaher and Ali Hussain Mahfouz, as well as the Belarus team of Dzmitry Abramenka and Pavel Piatrushka. Dan John and Eric Stadie won both of their matches of day one of the tournament: against Jonathan Justice and Adam Wienckowski from the USA and against Daisuke Shibata and Mao Harada from Japan.

The Canadian twins Megan and Nicole McNamara also emerged as winners from both their opening matches. With 21:17 and 21:16, they beat Anna Komarkova and Nicole Dostalova from the Czech Republic. They then took the match against the South African team of Thendiswa Bejancke Della and Manana Innocent Mosai in their stride and won 2-0 (21-5, 21-3). "We have always set ourselves very high goals. We are determined to win the gold medal," said Megan McNamara about her ambitions for the WUBC.

Tomorrow at 9.00 a.m., the German twins David and Bennet Poniewaz will re-open the center court. They will play their final group match against Óscar Jiménez Gutiérrez and Hugo Rojas Martínez from Spain. Both can make it directly into round two without losing a match. Once all the group matches have been played, round one will commence. At this stage, the second- and third-placed team of the group stage can also qualify for round two.

Last chance! At 12:30 p.m., Tzu-Yi Pan and Ya-Hsuan Yu from Chinese Taipei will play against the Nicole Laird and Brittany Kendall from Australia, who have already played Olympia qualifiers. To make it directly into round two, the Team from Chinese Taipei will have to beat the Australians.


Click here for the pictures of the day.