Australia, China and Thailand lead the continent’s charge
Roi Et, Thailand, November 8, 2023 – With action-packed main draw now underway, participating teams made utmost efforts to strive to secure berths in next phase of the topflight competition in the 2023 FIVB Beach Volleyball U21 World Championships in front of the picturesque Roi Et Tower in this northeastern province of Thailand
Thirty-two teams apiece in men’s and women’s events are strutting their stuff in the Main Draw, split into eight pools of four teams apiece to contest pool round-robin preliminaries between November 8 and 9. Only the best three-ranked teams in each pool will next advance to Round of 24 on November 10. Qualified teams will then make the cut for the quarterfinals on November 11, with semifinals, bronze and gold medal matches taking place on November 12, the last day of the double-gender championships.
Despite daunting challenges from big names and young talents from around the world, Asian teams also fared well on Day 1 Main Draw of the Beach Volleyball U21 World Championships in Roi Et.
In the women’s event, Stefanie Fejes proved a major force of Australia to be reckoned with. In 2021, Fejes teamed up with Alisha Stevens to capture the Asian U21 Beach Volleyball Championships in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand and repeated the similar feat earlier this year as she partnered Jasmine Fleming to win the continental title for the same age category last July at Ban Nongyama School here in Roi Et.
Fejes and Fleming returned to the same province with higher expectations this time. As Australia became the lone Asian nation to take medals in the FIVB U21 World Championships, with Becchara Palmer/Alice Rohkamper securing silver in 2007 in Modena, Italy and Mariafe Artacho/Taliqua Clancy claiming bronze in 2012 in Halifax, Canada, Fejes and Fleming hoped to make their mark this time to return with another podium finish.
Contesting Pool E, the Aussies got off to a flying start on Wednesday to power past qualifiers Elea Beutel/Clara Draben from Germany 2-0 (21-7, 21-16). Fejes/Fleming will next take on Gambians Anna Marie Bojang/Fatou Ceesay on Thursday and play their last preliminary match against Kazakhstan’s Nadezhda Ivanchenko/Laura Kabulbekova in the all-Asians affair on Friday.
“We have come to this tournament because this will be our last time in the age-group competitions. We had a pretty good preparation. We have the same goal that we want to get on the…