Italy’s Giulia Momoli/Laura Giombini and France’s Youssef Krou/Edouard Rowlandson won Gold in the WEVZA Zonal Event indoor Beach Volleyball tournament celebrated in French city of Montpellier. There was even more to celebrate for the host country with one silver and two bronze medals for another three home duos whereas Switzerland got silver in the men’s competition to round out three days of classy actions in Montpellier.

Italy’s Giulia Momoli and Laura Giombini lived up to their status of first-seeded pair of the tournament stretching their winning streak into Sunday’s semis and final matches. They started with a 2:0 victory (21-15, 21-17) over Germany’s Sandra Ittlinger and Yanina Weiland in the semis to wait for the result of a French derby to get to know the names of their opponents in the final act of the competition.

Third-seeded Melinda Adelin and Mathilde Giordano upset their countrywomen Laura Longuet and Deborah Giaoui in a dramatic second semi-final which lasted for 46 minutes (21-13, 18-21, 15-12). Longuet and Giaoui got back on track later in the afternoon with a 21-19, 21-16 victory over Ittlinger/Weiland to settle for the bronze medal. The hopes of home success were then dashed by Momoli/Giombini who edged past Adelin/Giordano by 2:1 in the final (21-17, 16-21, 15-8) to follow up on the fifth place they had claimed at the FIVB Challenger in Pattaya, Thailand with their first international title as a team.

“We are so happy with our first gold medal from an international tournament,” Momoli and Giombini said. “We are looking forward to showing these medals to our family and friends. It was a very tough match with the ladies from France, they are good, and so we are very proud of this victory.”
“We are satisfied with our performance since we are a new team as we were both used to play in defence,” said Adelin and Giordano.

France’s home heroes Youssef Krou and Edouard Rowlandson followed in the footsteps of Momoli and Giombini as they also fulfilled their role of first-seeded pair of the tournament cruising to a much desired home victory in Montpellier. They started the last day of competition with a hard-fought 2:1 victory in the semi-final with their countrymen Martel Bosqui/Adrian Caravano (17-21, 21-12, 15-5) to play Switzerland’s Mats Kovatsch and Jonas Kissling in the final. The Swiss guys had previously upset in Saturday’s quarter-finals Italy’s second-seeded Andrea Tomatis and Luca Colaberardino and were in fine form also in their semi with Germany’s Max Betzien and Toni Hellmuth which lasted for more than an hour (2:1; 16-21, 22-20, 15-11).

Bosqui/Caravano finished their home campaign on a high note winning the bronze medal match with Betzien/Hellmuth by 21-19, 22-20 before it was then time for the ‘big final’. The winners of this year’s FIVB Xiamen Open, Krou and Rowlandson, were only one step away from home glory and caught a flying start coming out with all guns blazing to win the first set by 21-16. Kovatsch and Kissling responded by claiming the second with the same score and then the drama continued in the tie-break which Krou and Rowlandson eventually claimed by 15-13.

“We are of course pleased with our victory here in Montpellier, as we got some valuable ranking points and this is very important at the end of the season when we are laying the foundations for next year,” Krou and Rowlandson commented.

The Western European Volleyball Zonal Association (WEVZA) is the youngest among Europe’s five Zonal Associations and was established last year on the eve of the XXXIV CEV General Assembly held in Copenhagen, Denmark. The eight member countries of WEVZA are Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland.

Click here to access to all the results of the tournament.

Click here to access to the photo gallery of the tournament.