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SA beach volleyballers aim high at Games
- Updated: July 26, 2012
Despite being the lowest rank team at these 2012 Olympics beach volleyball coach/manager Gershon Rorich reckons his team have it in them to spike some of the bigger guns in London, writes Mark Etheridge.
The South African team of Freedom Chiya and Grant Goldschmidt are up in action on Saturday evening (10pm London time) for the first time in a Group D fixture.
“The nature of beach volleyball means that results are pretty up and down and every team has some sort of a chance,” manager/coach Rorich told Road to London 2012 on Thursday.
“At the moment the form guys are the Americans Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal. They’ve been doing very well on the world circuit lately.”
But Rorich reckons that the Americans will probably not know too much about the Cape Town pairing of Chiya and Goldschmidt. “They’ve never played us but we’ve been preparing for them for a while now. We’ve got hard hitters and good jumpers and I can assure you that these two guys will not be playing like girls.”
Chiya is a project manager at Eskom while Goldschmidt is a personal trainer.
The format of the competition sees the 24 men’s teams put into six pools of four with the two two in each pool going through to the Last 16 automatically, along with the next two best third-placed finishers. The other four third-place finishers slug it out┬á for the remaining two spots.
In the first round each team plays the other three teams in the Group. After their US clash, our boys will take on Latvia on Monday and Poland on Wednesday.
Matches are over three sets, with the first team to 21 points (and at least two clear of their rivals) winning the first and second sets with the final set going to 15 points.
“The guys are very fit now. Normally they train about four times a week on Camps Bay beach but for the last three months they’ve been at it every day. We also had a two month camp in Berlin and then spent two weeks in Montpellier, France so we’ve had good preparation.”
Having said that though and Rorich is in a lone role as manager/coach. He says all the other beach volleyball teams at the Olympics have a dedicated support crew of at least five personnel.
Rorich also raved about the venue at the Horse Guards Parade. “It’s absolutely stunning, the sand is also very fine which makes it tough to jump and suits the tall guys.”
Is it a tall order to expect our men to sneak into the Last 16? The next week will tell us…