Historical wins propel Iran and Uruguay

02.07.2019 - Hamburg, Germany

The Asians and the South Americans each won a match for the first time in the World Championships

Iranians Bahman Salemi and Arash Vakili and Uruguayans Marco Cairus and Mauricio Vieyto both made history at the Beach Volleyball World Championships as they secured their countries’ first-ever victories in the event in Hamburg and granted an opportunity to remain alive in the tournament.

The 30-year-old Salemi, who had competed at the last edition of the World Championships in Vienna in 2017, and the 28-year-old Vakili upset Rwanda’s Patrick Kavalo and Olivier Ntagengwa 21-10, 21-11 to clinch the third spot of Pool L.

The Iranians had won a World Tour one-star tournament in their home sand of Bandar Torkaman last October, but labeled their victory against the Africans as the most important of their careers.

“It’s a great day for beach volleyball in our country,” Vakili stated. “We knew we had a chance against Rwanda and our first goal was to win this match and give ourselves a chance at the lucky loser round. The next match is also really important as it could put us among the 32 best teams in the world.”

The pool’s top spot went to the home favorites Julius Thole and Clemens Wickler, who defeated Americans Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb 21-16, 21-17 to remain undefeated in pool play.

In Pool G, Cairus and Vieyto needed all three sets, but prevailed over Russians Maksim Hudyakov and Igor Velichko 19-21, 21-16, 15-13 to get their first World Championships victory in their second appearance and finish third.

The young South Americans, who are both 22, were jubilant after their accomplishment.

“We didn’t start well, but slowly got into our rhythm,” Vieyto explained. “Our first goal was to get out of our pool and we knew that to do it we’d need to beat the Russians. It’s a step forward compared to Vienna and it gives us some good confidence going forward. We’ll take our chances in the next match and even if we lose it, it would still be worth it just for the experience.”

The winners of the pool were Polish Bartosz Losiak and Piort Kantor, followed by USA’s Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb.