09.08.2021 - Vienna, Austria
To Russian star Oleg Stoyanovskiy, the ‘Triple Crown’ of international beach volleyball consists of the Olympics, the World Championship and the EuroBeachVolley. Partner Viacheslav Krasilnikov and him came agonizingly close to completing it during the last two years, when they made it to the finals of all three tournaments.
The Russians won one of them, the 2019 World Championship, and while their next shot at the Olympics after they took silver last weekend in Tokyo won’t come until 2024, they can chase continental glory as early as this week, when they compete at the A1 CEV EuroBeachVolley Vienna 2021 presented by Swatch.
One of the favorites in the event, the Russians are part of Pool G in Vienna, where they will compete with Estonians Mart Tiisaar and Kustin Nolvak, Dutch Christiaan Varenhorst and Steven van de Velde and Italians Jakob Windisch and Samuele Cottafava. The opening matches for the men at the Austrian capital will take place on Thursday.
“We obviously want to play well in every tournament but the EuroBeachVolley stands out from the pack,” the 24-year-old, 2.07m-tall Russian said. “Every European athlete dream about winning it and alongside the Olympics and the World Championship, it’s the most valuable reward for us. We have a massive urge to fight for the title this year.”
Stoyanovskiy, who’s no stranger to continental glory after becoming an U18 and U22 European champion in the last decade, and Krasilnikov were stopped by the same team in both of their attempts to win the Olympics and the EuroBeachVolley – Norway’s Anders Mol and Christian Sørum, who defeated the Russians in the continental final last year in Jurmala.
The rivalry between Russians and Norwegians, arguably the greatest and most entertaining one in international beach volleyball at the moment, should be one of the several storylines of the event, which will reunite all 13 men’s European teams that competed in Tokyo, many of which eliminated fellow continental opponents in Japan.
“To be successful against Norway a team needs to be perfectly fit and desirably a bit lucky too,” Stoyanovskiy added. “That wasn’t the case last year but we constantly strive to improve and hopefully we can even the score this year. I think every team that lost in Tokyo will want to take revenge in Vienna and we’ll definitely see several spectacular fights.”
For the Russian blocker, succeeding is Vienna is also a matter of honor this time. Stoyanovskiy has won international beach volleyball medals in 15 different cities over the last eight years, but has never lucky to do so in Vienna.
Even though he felt energized by the fans in each of the three occasions he played in the Austrian capital, the Russian has never made it past the quarterfinals in Vienna.
“Austrian fans are definitely the most cheerful, friendly and inspiring in international beach volleyball,” he added. “Unfortunately, I have always performed below my expectations in Vienna. The city is kind of ‘a place of wasted opportunities’ for me, but hopefully that changes.”