Teams from Russia swept the men’s podium and Lithuania secured gold and bronze in the women’s competition at the CEV Snow Volleyball European Tour stop held this weekend in Bakuriani, Georgia. All matches were played in a beautiful ski resort.
In -2°C (about 28°F) weather, Ivan Golovin and Valeriy Durnin claimed an all-Russian bronze medal match against 2018 Russian Snow Volleyball national champions Pavel Rakusov / Yury Bogatov 3-1 (12-14, 11-6, 11-8, 11-9). The gold medal match lasted for 42 minutes with Russia’s Ruslan Bykanov / Maksim Khudyakov storming to a 3-2 victory (8-11, 13-11, 9-11, 11-7, 15-13) over Ruslan Daianov and Taras Myskiv, who had won the previous two stops of the European Tour in Turkey and Italy
In the women’s card, Lithuania claimed gold and bronze, with Urte Andriukaityte and Irina Zobnina standing on top of the podium following their hard-fought 3-2 victory against Russia’s Ksenia Dabizha and Ksenia Khakimzanova (11-8, 7-11, 7-11, 13-11, 11-8). Ieva Vasiliauskaite and Gerda Grudzinskaite completed the Lithuanian triumph in Bakuriani as they won another five-set game in the bronze medal match against Czech Republic’s Anna Dostalova and Michaela Knoblochova (5-11, 11-8, 14-16, 15-13, 11-9).
The next stop in the 2018 CEV Snow Volleyball European Tour will Uludag, Turkey, next week. The crowd and athlete turnout during the different stages of this tournament is a testamente to CEV and FIVB’s efforts on turning snow volleyball into an Olympic sport.