2018-04-18 10:00:00 CEST
Playing together initially on a temporary basis, Stoyanovskiy and Velichko might become regular partners soon
It looks like turning a temporary partnership into a permanent one might be just becoming a trend in the beach volleyball World Tour. That’s what Brazilian Fort Lauderdale silver medalists Taiana Lima and Carol Horta did a couple of weeks ago and what Russians Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Igor Velichko, long-time rivals in national tournaments, might be about to do as well.
The young Russians joined forces earlier this season to compete in the Fort Lauderdale Major and the four-star Doha tournament as their usual partners, Artem Yarzutkin and Maxim Sivolap, had picked up some minor injuries during preseason.
However, as happened with Taiana and Carol, good results speak loud in beach volleyball. After winning the silver medal in Doha, the duo will remain together for the four-star events in Xiamen, Huntington Beach and Itapema, all to be played between April and May, before a final decision about their futures is made for the summer and the Beach Major Series.
“Getting our first medal together gave us more confidence in each other,” 21-year-old Stoyanovskiy admitted. “The level is very high and it’s hard to perform not having much experience with your partner. These months together improved our game and I hope we stay together as Igor proved to be a very capable defender and our visions are very similar.”
Ladies and gents the #KataraBeachvolley2018 medallists- Stoyanovskiy/Velichko (Rus) a silver, Meeuwsen/Brouwer (NED) - gold, Ahmed/Cherif (Qat) - bronze
The team’s future after these three tournaments won’t be set by them, though. As they are part of the Russian National Team, Stoyanovskiy and Velichko are subject to the decisions made by head coach Viacheslav Nirka, who has the final word on how teams are structured.
“As a player, and especially a young player, you don’t’ have a say about who you are going to play with,” Stoyanovskiy added. “The coach has full authority to make this decision and we don’t know what will happen after these tournaments, but our goal is to be part of the group of teams that compete for medals in every World Tour tournament. If we keep progressing, we can be really good.”
Never give up! 💪💪 Oleg Stoyanovskiy went the extra mile to keep this ball in play in the #KataraBeachVolley2018 gold medal game! #ThisIsBeachVolleyball https://t.co/neDpHajkuM
Regardless of what the future formations look like, the fact is Russian is having a huge influx of talent with young players climbing the world rankings and competing among the best in the world.
Add these two young tandems to the 2017 World Championships bronze medalists Nikita Liamin and Viacheslav Krasilnikov and to Rio 2016 Olympian Konstantin Semenov, who just returned to the beach a few months ago, and the country seems to be poised to compete for medals in every important tournament in the foreseeable future.
“I think we have very competitive teams and this squad could be strongest in Russia history,” Stoyanovskiy added. “All of us have medals in the World Tour, which shows we have a good amount of experience, but most of us are under 24-year-old, which means we can get a lot better with time.”
Beach elite head to China for crucial four-star action
Youth Olympians become youngest ever World Tour winners
The week in the sands of the world
World Tour winners and joy in Joao Pessoa