After reaching the Olympic semifinals in Rio 2016, Konstantin Semenov decided to try his luck in indoor volleyball, citing the constant travel hassle of the beach life as a main factor, thus being able to spend more time his family. At 27 years of age, he accepted an offer from Gazprom and Belgorod to play indoors, but injuries hampered his experiment, and now he is back on the beach, according to FIVB.com.
Semenov is partnering up 22-year-old Ilya Leshukov, a silver medalist at the 2014 FIVB Under-21 World Championships. However, the duo will have to start from the bottom of the rankings, as Semenov has been away from the World Tour since 2016 and Leshukov has only played in eight tournaments in his entire international career.
The new pair debuted at the Eastern European Volleyball Association Finals, a tournament held in Moscow, winning the gold medal with five wins and no sets dropped:
“Moving back to indoor after playing beach was very difficult. My back and my knees struggled and I’ve had a lot of injuries because of the hard floor. I didn’t have much of a reputation on indoor and any mistakes I’d make on my limited playing time would cost me a lot.
The points are an issue for us now, so we’ll have to play some regional and satellite tournaments, but I hope we can compete in the Major Series at some point this season. Leshukov is young, but very experienced, and he has big goals, as I do.
It was such an awesome feeling to return and win the Moscow EEVZA. I had about 10 days to prepare and I got massive support from Russian coach Evgeniy Romashkin. I am so grateful to him.”
Semenov and Leshukov now are heading to Brazil to prepare for future endeavors. Semenov, was not candid in expressing his goals upon his decision to return:
“This is how we decided to start our preparation for the season. We are working with famous Brazilian coach Adriano Ticao before competing and it has been great to train with some tough Brazilian teams. I hope my deepest dream of becoming an Olympic champion comes true one day.”
VolleyMob wishes the new partnership good luck.