Beach Volleyball: Nishibori, Mizoe win Japan’s first medal since 2000
- Updated: December 15, 2014
December 15, 2014: Takemi Nishibori and Sayaka Mizoe’s surprise run at the season-ending Mangaung Open in South Africa finished with a silver after the Japanese duo lost 2-0 (21-15, 21-17) to Czech pair Martina Bonnerova and Barbora Hermannova in Sunday’s final.
Nishibori, 33, and Mizoe, 24, had come from behind to win their quarter-final and semi-final matches to reach their first final since teaming up last year, but couldn’t muster the energy to pull off another victory.
Despite the loss, the pair were proud to secure Japan’s first medal on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour since Yukiki Takahashi and Mika Teru Saika won silver in Osaka in 2000.
“We are empty; no energy left,” Mizoe said, before Nishibori added: “But we are so happy to win our first medal. We are proud.”
Bonnerova and Hermannova also won their first medal on the circuit, while Russia’s Evgenia Ukolova and Maria Prokopeva claimed the bronze.
“I wanted this so much,” Hermannova said. “We knew we had a good chance, but we had to fight for it. They are so fast and clever players. But our tactics worked well. They play a lot of shots behind the net, but I was prepared for it and Martina dug a lot line hits.”
In the men’s final, Dutch pair Reinder Nummerdor and Christiaan Varenhorst defeated Chilean cousins Esteban and Marco Grimalt 2-0 (21-18, 21-18). Nummerdor and Varenhorst won their second gold in only three World Tour events together, having also won the Sao Paulo Grand Slam in September. France’s Youssef Krou and Edouard Rowlandson won the bronze medal.
The Mangaung Open was the final leg of this year’s World Tour. The 2015 season features six Grand Slams, a new Major Series involving four tournaments, a World Tour Finals in the USA and six Opens, totalling 17 tournaments and record prize money of US$9.3 million.
The double-gender Fuzhou Open in China, the first event on this year’s calendar, will again kick off the World Tour and will be held from April 21-26. The Dutch cities of The Hague, Apeldoorn, Amsterdam and Rotterdam will host the US$1 million FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships from June 26-July 5.
Source: FIVB (www.fivb.org); Editing by SportAsia