Roi Et, Thailand, November 9, 2023 – The action-packed Main Draw of the 2023 FIVB Beach Volleyball U21 World Championships reaches a thrilling climax on Friday with teams in both genders fighting with utmost efforts on the last day of pool round-robin preliminaries to seek their berths in single elimination Round of 24 to be contested later in the afternoon.
A large number of home fans on Thursday braved scorching heat with searing temperatures of 33 degrees Celsius at four competition courts in front of the picturesque Roi Et Tower and adjacent Bueng Planchai to support their favorite teams.
As big names and young stars from around the world made their mark on Day 2 of the Main Draw, Asian teams were put to the real test on Thursday, with some sealing victories to keep their hopes of advancing alive but others succumbing to losses to much stronger opponents and likely to suffer early exit.
In the women’s event, Kazakhstan’s Nadezhda Ivanchenko/Laura Kabulbekova cruised past Germans Elea Beutel/Clara Dreben 2-0 (21-11, 21-19) for two wins in a row in Pool E.
Australians Stefanie Fejes/Jasmine Fleming, who captured the continental title for the same age category last July at Ban Nongyama School here in Roi Et, did likewise as they claimed two straight wins following their 2-0 (21-3, 21-6) triumph in a totally lopsided battle against Gambians Anna Marie Bojang/Fatou Ceesay on Thursday.
The 20-year-old Fejes, who teamed up with Jana Milutinovic to win Beach Pro Tour Futures Coolangatta early this year, and Fleming will next go up against Kazakhs Ivanchenko/Kabulbekova in the Friday morning to determine the Pool E winners. However, win or loss, both sides, similarly collecting 4 points from two straight wins without dropping a set, have already booked their berths for knockout stage in the Round of 24 later in the Friday afternoon.
In Pool D, Chinese Xu Yan/Zhou Mingli’s winning streak was stopped on Thursday when they lost their third match against Anna Pavelkova and Katerine Pavelkova from Czechia 0-2 (23-25, 16-21). Still, the Chinese pair remained atop Pool D with 5 points from two wins against one loss. The Czechia’s Pavelkova twins also completed their pool play with similar 5 points from two wins against one loss to come in second place.
In Pool F, Vietnamese Hong Hanh Mai/Nguyen Thi Thu lost 1-2 (21-16, 13-21, 11-15) to Paraguay’s Sofia Paredes Enrique/Fiorella Nunez Quintana to bag only 2 points from two straight losses to trail in…