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Big turn-out at PE for beach volleyball circuit
- Updated: April 5, 2013
Not even the weather gods could dampen the enthusiasm of the 29 teams that rocked up at Port Elizabeth’s Hobie Beach for the last weekend’s second leg of Volleyball South Africa’s R60,000 National Beach Volleyball Circuit.
According to Gershon Rorich,VSA’s Beach Volleyball Co-ordinator, volleyball occupies pride of place as one of the star attractions at the annual Splash Festival in the windy city. This time round, a bumper 29-team draw and action packed matches saw beach volleyball attracting droves of spectators throughout the day, making it the most watched event at the festival.
Not fazed by their dismal fourth placing in the opening leg of the circuit in Cape Town, SA’s beach volleyball Olympians, Freedom Chiya and Grant Goldschmidt were determined to get back to their winning ways. Equally determined were fellow Capetonians Jerome Fredericks and Leo Williams who, having┬á triumphed in the Cape Town event a fortnight ago, stood steadfastly in their way.
Overcoming a strong challenge from the pairing of Clinton Stemmet and Leslie Naidoo in the ‘make or break’ semi-final, Chiya and Goldschmidt posted a hard fought 2-1 victory to set up a final showdown with the reigning champions, Fredericks and Williams.
In the other men’s semi-final clash the number one seeds (Fredericks/Williams) won in straight sets (2-0) against seasoned campaigners, Adrian Strijdom and Ricky Stevens.
In the bronze medal encounter the younger pairing of Stemmet and Naidoo put paid to any chance that Strijdom and Stevens might have had to lay claim to the R4000 third-place prize money when they beat the latter in straight sets (2-0).
Described as one of the most exciting men’s final ever, defending champions Fredericks and the lanky Williams stuck to their game plan against Chiya and Goldschmidt who were hell-bent’on reclaiming their number one status on the beach circuit. The hard fought encounter could have gone either way had it not been for the imposing frame of Williams who dominated the play at the net.
With one set all (1-1) and everything to play for to claim the R8000 winners’ prize money, the third set became an explosive encounter with both teams throwing caution to the wind and taking their chances to put quick points on the board. With the fans firmly behind their favourite teams, the final few points were fought on a knife’s edge. Fredericks and Williams surged ahead to wrap the match up and take a commanding 2-0 lead (as winners) in the five national circuit tournaments for the 2013 season.
The women’s semi-finals were equally exciting with strong challenges from all round.
Try as they might, Gadija Jappie and Lameez Naidoo could not find the right strategy to send the number one seeds and 2011 All Africa Games competitors Palesa Sekhonyana and Randy Williams reeling into the bronze medal encounter. Sekhonyana and Williams eventually ran out victors with a 2-0 score line.
A surprise entry in the other women’s semi-final was the school girl pairing of Christin Delcarme and Leizel Peterson who overcame not only the nasty weather conditions on the first two days of the tournament but also many veterans on the national beach circuit to stake a claim for their biggest winnings ever.
A straight sets win (2-0) over Amelia Luyt and Shena-Alice Abrahams saw the youngsters go down on their knees on the sand and lift their hands high up to the skies in gratitude┬á for their victory. While Luyt and Abrahams went on to win their bronze medal encounter against Jappie and Naidoo, Delcarme and Peterson, the ‘rookies’ on the national beach circuit found the goings tough against the more experienced Sekhonyana and Williams who walked away with the R8000 winners cheque. For their efforts, Delcarme and Peterson earned R5600.
The third leg of the national circuit is scheduled to take place at Durban’s New Beach from 5-7 July.
1 Palesa Sekhonyana/Randy Williams
2 Christin Delcarme/Leizel Peterson
3 Amelia Luyt/Shena-Alice Abrahams
1 Jerome Fredericks/Leo Williams
2 Freedom Chiya/Grant Goldschmidt
3 Clinton Stemmet/Leslie Naidoo