Andre Loyola and George Wanderley’s victory on Sunday at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour four-star event in Itapema, which they earned with a straight-set victory (29-27, 21-17) over fellow Brazilians Vitor Felipe and Renato Andrew in the final, had different meanings for both of the athletes and the sport as a whole.
Their victory on the sands of Meia Praia Beach was their first international title as a team, which they formed in 2019. However, it was also the last time a duo took its place on the top of the podium of a World Tour tournament. This is because the competition is scheduled to be replaced by the newly established Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour in 2022.
“This makes me quite happy. “This is my first victory in such a significant competition, and it’s also the first victory for us as a team,” George, who is 25 years old, remarked. “In Joao Pessoa, we have practice with Vitor and Renato every single day, and although it’s not easy playing against them, I’m incredibly proud of how well we did.” Due to the fact that we had some injury problems throughout the second semester, we are relieved to say that we have now reached our peak performance.
Andre and George, who are the two-time defending Brazilian champions, competed in a total of 20 international tournaments before winning their first gold medal together
Prior to this competition, however, they already earned one silver and two bronze medals as partners. However, for Andre, who was crowned world champion in 2017, this victory was a return to the top of the podium in Itapema. In 2018, Andre won the very first World Tour event that was hosted in the city, with Evandro Goncalves, so this victory marked a return to the top of the podium in Itapema.
Reflecting on the victory, Andre said, “It’s hard to believe we won it.” Since 2017, Itapema has been the venue for competitions on the Brazilian Tour, and I was able to take first place here in its first year, as well as on the World Tour in 2018. It was already a significant spot for me, but after achieving my first triumph with George, it has taken on an even greater significance. We didn’t had an easy year, so winning a World Tour tournament at the end of it makes us incredibly delighted. This was not an easy year for us.
During the match for the gold medal at Itapema, Andre made a pass.
Alexander Huber and Christoph Dressler of Austria defeated Alex Ranghieri and Daniele Lupo of Italy in an exciting match for third place, winning 2-1 (16-21, 21-19, 16-14). With this victory, the Austrian duo returned to the podium for the first time since August 2020, when they secured bronze in a one-star tournament in Ljubljana.
The Europeans, who have been partners since 2018, have now won a total of six medals on the World Tour, including two of each class. Their golds came in two-star competitions in Siem Reap and Qidong, both of which took place in 2019.
Huber and Dressler of Austria are now competing on the podum alongside two teams from Brazil.
Huber, an Olympian who participated in the Rio 2016 Games, stated that “it’s our first medal on the big stage, it truly means a lot.” “Many people had their doubts about us, and we didn’t receive a lot of affection.
Therefore, demonstrating what we are capable of and the fact that we can play feels really fantastic. Also, we would want to extend our gratitude to the supporters; they were incredible, and even when we were competing against Brazil, they applauded our successes whenever they occurred. It has been a great deal of enjoyable.”
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