09.05.2019 - Hamburg WCH
Officially the fifth tournament in World Championship history, the tournament headed back to Europe for the third with Berlin hosting the event for the first time. Germany’s interest in beach volleyball was in full swing, and with a number of high-profile players emerging from the nation, big things were expected.
Kerri & Misty do it again
The biggest story for the tournament was without doubt, Kerri Walsh and Misty May’s gold medal, which made it back-to-back World titles.
Having won their first Olympic gold together in Athens the year before, all eyes were on beach volleyball’s golden girls and they failed to disappoint. Seeded 19th, the Americans stormed their way through to the semifinals where they dropped their first of the tournament to China’s Jia Tian and Fei Wang. An injury to the Chinese led to a retirement that booked their spot in the final. For the second successive World Championships Kerri and Misty took on a team from Brazil, and although this time their opponents were different, the result was the same, as the Americans won in straight sets, beating top-seeded Brazilians Juliana Felisberta and Larissa Franca. In the women’s bronze medal match, Tian and Wang recovered to beat Cuba’s Fernandez/Peraza to take third spot.
In the men’s tournament, the Brazilian stranglehold continued as Marcio Araujo and Fabio Luiz made it four World Championship titles out of five for the South American nation. The pair also became the sixth and seventh different individual Brazilians to take a world champs gold.
The duo, the number two seeds, defeated Swiss pair Sasha Heyer and Paul Laciga in straight sets in Berlin. Both finalists beat teams from Germany, but more on that shortly.
Take your pick. Hosts German enjoyed a fine set of results, especially on the men’s side (again, more on that in a minute). In the men’s tournament, of the 12 teams that finished in the top 10, seven were seeded 13th or lower, with Germany supplying two of those teams. Honorable mentions here to Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers playing their first championships together (seeded 26 and finished seventh) and Estonians Kristjian Kais and Rivo Vesik (seeded 17) who finished fifth and earned 20,000 US Dollars in doing so.
Kerri and Misty were seeded 19, while the Cubans fourth place finish was also a fine achievement. China had two teams finish in the top 5, with 26 seeds Ying Li and Lu Wang joining bronze medalists Tian/Wang among the top finishers.
How did the Germans do?
Of course what would a beach volleyball tournament be without success for the country hosting the thing? Germany certainly rose to the challenge… no more so in the men’s competition (which we’ve alluded to 80 times already). Of the seven men’s teams from Germany, four finished in the top 13, three in the top 10 and two in the top 4!
Those two teams, Julius Brink and Kjell Schneider and Marvin Polte and Thorsten Schön fought their way through the semifinals, much to the excitement of the partisan home crowd. And while both teams lost their semifinals, it meant an all-bronze medal match for the nation to sit back and enjoy in the knowledge they were guaranteed a World Championship medal.
While Julius Brink would go on to achieve in greater things in the sport, it was still a moment to remember for the other Germans involved, especially Polte/Schön, who were completed unfancied as number 43 seeds. The pair would play for the rest of the 2005 season together – but would never play on the FIVB World Tour again.
Meanwhile, the top performing women’s team from Germany came in the shape of Stephanie Pohl and Okka Rau, who posted a ninth place finish. And there was absolutely no disgrace in losing to two-time World Champions Shelda Bede and Adriana Behar in their contender’s bracket match.
Among the other players in action for the hosts was a 19-year-old Laura Ludwig who, with Sara Niedrig, finished in a very respectable 17th, bowing out to Brazilians Leila Barros and Ana Paula Henkel.
Worth a watch
Swatch FIVB World Beach Volleyball Championship 2005 in Berlin. Production info: Exploziv RTL Hrvatska Novinar:Marijan Vrdoljak Kamera/Ton:Josip Fiolić Montaža:Tomislav Gluhak Copyright RTL Televizija doo
Beach action. Check. Goosebumps. Probably. Hospitality. Check. Party time. Check.
Berlin knew how to host a tournament…
A special World Championships because…
The success of the German men’s teams captured the imagination of the Berlin public, creating the kind of atmosphere that only because volleyball can. Their achievements slightly overshadowing the feat of Kerri and Misty – I mean, winning back-to-back titles? Well, let’s just wait until the 2007 story, huh?
Impress your friends by saying:
Jia Tian and Fei Wang’s bronze medal for China marked the first time a team (men or women) outside of Europe and North and South America to win a World Championships medal.
Having previously played with brother Martin, Paul Laciga teamed up with Sasha Heyer to win the silver medal in Berlin. The brothers called it quits together after finishing fifth at the Athens Olympics the year before going their separate ways.
The championships in three words?
Germany win bronze
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