The most successful European beach volleyball couples last year were Italy’s Marta Menegatti with Greta Cicolari and Germany’s Julius Brink with Jonas Reckermann. The ladies scored gold at the European Championships and two FIVB Swatch Tour silver medals at Myslowice Open and Olympic Bay Sanya Open. Their first appearance at the World Championships ended without a medal despite the excitement of playing to a home crowd in such a prestigious event, but one thing is for sure: Marta and Greta, who finished the year at number five in the FIVB rankings, are hotly tipped to up their game this year!
Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann, on the other hand, already impressed audiences, winning ten medals at last year’s FIVB events. Their third-place finish in 2011′s FIVB rankings was the result of a gold medal at the European Championships, three silvers during the Swatch Tour and bronze in the World Championships in Rome.
Their fellow Germans Laura Ludwig and Sara Goller scored a silver medal in the Swatch World Tour and bronze at the European Championships. Other Heroes like the Italians Matteo Martino with Paolo Nicolai, Matteo Ingrosso or Spain’s Pablo Herrera with Adrian Gavira Collado were not quite as successful, but have their eyes firmly set on going for glory this year – more dangerous and determined than ever! Matteo Martino and Paolo Nicolai might not make a showing together this year, however, as Matteo returned to indoor volleyball and joined the team from Modena. Due to the club season schedule he will miss the beginning of the Swatch World Tour on 15 April in Brasilia. But he did admit that playing a season on sand was a great experience, so perhaps we will see this FIVB Hero in the beach volleyball arena once again!
As the new season starts, last year’s results are old news and the time has come to write a new story. Who will find themselves at the top this year? Stay tuned…