2018-12-02 20:16:00 CET

Arvaniti’s triumphant return

The Greek veteran returned to the World Tour after two entire seasons and took gold in Ljubljana

Arvaniti and Karagkouni celebrate their victory in the first tournament after their reunion (Photocredit: FIVB)Arvaniti and Karagkouni celebrate their victory in the first tournament after their reunion (Photocredit: FIVB)

It looks like returning to the World Tour in great fashion after a long absence is becoming a trend in beach volleyball. After American Tri Bourne captured the gold medal in China in October to celebrate his international comeback after two years, this week it was Greek veteran Vasiliki Arvaniti's turn to do the same.

The 33-year-old three-time Olympian had taken a break from the sands in 2016 and she recently decided to return to the sport. The experienced defender found her way back to the top of podium in just the first tournament after her return, as partner Penny Karagkouni and her prevailed in the one-star tournament in Ljubljana, Slovenia, the last one of the 2018 World Tour calendar year.

Arvaniti, who had won just one gold in her 15-year World Tour career, back in 2005, and Karagkouni had a promising first tournament together as they came out on top in each of the five games they played at the Slovenian capital, including the gold medal match, in which they downed Lithuania’s Urte Andriukaityte and Vytene Vitkauskaite in straight sets (21-18, 21-15).

“I wanted to feel this emotion, to play, to enjoy the game,” the Greek veteran said after the match. “I came here hungry to play, because I was far from the competitions for a long time. I really enjoyed playing here a lot! We won the gold medal and this is a perfect beginning.”

It is gold!! #teamwork #teamhellas #goldmedal #fivbtournament2018 #ljubljana #cev #eope #firststep #vickypeny #athletelife #momslife #adidasgr #goodvibes #teamgoals

173 Likes, 9 Comments - Vicky Arvaniti (@vickyarvaniti) on Instagram: "It is gold!! #teamwork #teamhellas #goldmedal #fivbtournament2018 #ljubljana #cev #eope #firststep..."

Ukranian top-seeded Diana Lunina and Maryna Samoday finished third after a two-set (21-14, 21-15) victory over Latvia’s Varvara Brailko and Anete Namike in the bronze medal match.

In the men’s tournament, Belarus earned a historic first World Tour gold medal as Aliaksandr Dziadkou and Pavel Piatrushka topped Turkey’s Selcuk Sekerci and Sefa Urlu in straight sets (21-19, 21-16) in the final. Piatrushka became just the 10th man to claim a World Tour gold medal in his first international tournament.  

CEV Beach Volleyball on Twitter

And the podium of FIVB #BeachVolleyball 1-Star/Satellite Ljubljana Winter Edition looks like this for men: 🥇 Dziadkou/Piatrushka 🇧🇾 🥈Sekerci/Urlu 🇹🇷 🥉 Burnett/Guehrer 🇦🇺

Australians Paul Burnett and Maximilian Guehrer needed all three sets (16-21, 21-9, 16-14) to defeat Germans Robin Sowa and Eric Stadie in the bronze medal match and finish third.

The next World Tour event scheduled is the double-gender four-star tournament in the Hague, the Netherlands, that will kick off the 2019 calendar year from January 2-6.     

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