Azerbaijian teams warm up for European Games in Fuzhou

Fuzhou, China, April 22, 2015 – Azerbaijian's Raquel Goncalves Ferreira is playing only her third FIVB Beach Volleyball Tour event at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Fuzhou Open 2015 this week, but she has a big aim.

Ferreira/Iuliia Karimova advanced to the second round of qualification at the Fuzhou Open after their German opponents Anna Behlen/Katharina Culav were forced to withdraw after Culav suffered an injury to her left knee following a spectacular save.

"It's very hard to win like this, when a player gets injured, especially in a match that is so tight," said Ferreira, who was born in Brazil and switched her nationality to Azerbaijian several years ago."We feel really sorry for the German team for getting injured. That's not a good way of winning for us. But it happens, that's part of sport, unfortunately. I just hope she can recover soon and come back to play and do the things that we love most."

Karimova/Ferreira, one of the duos representing Azerbaijan at last year's inaugural Baku Masters tournament of the 2014 CEV Beach Volleyball European Championship, are making only their third appearance on the FIVB Beach Volleyball Tour. "It's actually our first full year playing on the FIVB World Tour.

We played just two tournaments last year. So all of this is new to us," said Ferreira, who was formerly an indoor volleyball player.

"Hopefully we can do well on the FIVB World Tour, getting better and better. Maybe start on the qualifiers, getting into the main draw, and getting all the way to the Grand Slam," said the 32-year-old veteran.

With less than two months before the inaugural European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan, Ferreira looks to getting fully prepared for the multi-sport event by playing on the World Tour.

"This is a big year for us. We have been preparing for the European Games as well that is going to be held in Baku. The whole country is excited about it," said Ferreira.

The April 21-26 Fuzhou Open feature four teams from Azerbaijan, two in the men’s and two in the women's competition.

Joao Luciano Kioday, coach of the Azerbaijan teams, said that the main event for his teams this year is the European Games slated for June 12-28.

"We are going to use everything to get fully prepared for the European Games," said Kioday.


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