Sochi, Russia, September 8, 2015 – France’s Aline Chamereau and Ophelie Lusson are one of eight teams that advanced to the main draw of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Sochi Open on Tuesday. Like most of the other teams that came from qualification Chamereau and Lusson will compete in the main draw of a World Tour event for the first time.
The 2014 Olympic Winter Games host city is treating the French girls well, they said after their 2-0 (21-3, 21-6) win over South Africa’s Simone Sittig and Luciana Pierangeli in the first and only qualification round. Only a few days ago Chamereau and Lusson helped their country secure promotion to the final of the CEV Continental Cup, at the very same venue in Russia.
As the second ranked French team they saved the day for their country with a big win over Latvia on Saturday in the Continental Cup, securing second place and a spot in the final round for Olympic qualification.
“We won this epic match against Latvia 1”, Chamereau looked back proudly. “It was a big match with lots of emotions. We were the outsiders as the second French team. So that was very cool.” Lusson: “We are very proud of ourselves and hope to do well here again.”
The French girls were also very pleased with their performance against South Africa in the qualification for the Sochi Open. “I think we had a great draw, so we are very happy and I think we did a good job”, Chamereau said. Lusson: “It’s the first World Tour event for Aline, so I am happy we are in the main draw. And it’s my first time this season. So it’s wonderful.”
Newcomers and lowest seeded Eunyce Martins Vercosa and Barbara De Sousa Alves Ferreira from Brazil impressed with a 2-0 (21-16, 21-15) win over second ranked Viktoryia Shalayeuskaya and Viktoriya Siakretava from Belarus.
The Brazilian girls travelled two days to come to Russia for their first World Tour event. But it’s worth it, 26-year old Eunyce explained, because there are no other Brazilian teams here in Sochi they have to compete with to get in.
“It’s so hard, because Brazil has the best teams of the world. But that’s also good for us, because the harder it is, the harder we will train to do better. I prefer hard over easy, because I want to be the best.”
Defence player Eunyce moved to Rio to be able to train with the 23-year old Barbara fulltime. Both girls put their study on hold to focus completely on beach volleyball. So far they played on the national tour and in the USA, but they plan to play some more World Tour Opens in the remaining of the 2015 FIVB season.
Eunyce: “We just want to get experience, enjoy and do our best.”
The other teams that advanced to the main draw are Russia’s Motrich/Makroguzova (1st) and Ezhak/Kurshina (11th), China’s Y.Y. Wang/Tang N.Y. (7th) and Y.Y. Ma/X.Y. Xia (4th) and Lece/Ozolina (3rd) and Sorikina/Jursone (9th) from Latvia.
Home favourites Evgenia Ukolova and Ekaterina Ukolova lead the field in the women’s main draw, which starts on Wednesday. Ukolova expressed her hope on a good result on home ground at Monday’s press conference.
“We are very pleased to play at home, but at the same time it’s a big responsibility. Especially for the tournament in Sochi we decided to skip the competition in Brazil, we wanted to prepare for Sochi as well as possible. We will try to please the Russian beach volleyball fans. Want to invite everybody to the Sport Inn Stadium. Because you know, it’s very good feeling to play in front of full stands.”
Other medal contenders in Sochi are the 2015 Moscow bronze medallists Marta Menegatti and Vicky Orsi Toth from Italy, third seeded Isabelle Forrer and Anouk Verge-Depre from Switzerland and as outsiders, the new Czech team Marketa Slukova and Barbora Hermannova.