Vienna, Austria, July 30, 2019 - With qualifying action launching the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour's third visit to the Austrian capital here on Tuesday, the day's featured event at the A1 Major Vienna presented by Swatch was a media conference where the newly-crowned world champions from Canada and Russia were together for the first time since securing their titles earlier this month in Germany.
Canadians Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan both spoke at Tuesday's mid-day session along with Russian Oleg Stoyanovskiy at the reception area behind the 10,000-seat centre court where the women's main draw begins on Wednesday and the men's on Thursday. Due to another commitment, Stoyanovskiy's partner Viacheslav Krasilnikov did not attend.
"It is an honour for me to represent our team here today," said Oleg after the hour-long session that was aired live by an Austrian sports channel with more than 75 media representatives in attendance. "This is all new for us (attending a media conference outside of Russia). We need to learn how to handle this added attention that we are receiving as world champions."
Humana-Paredes added: "It is always an honour to get invited to the press conference, especially in Vienna because they do such an incredible job. It’s so professional and they take it very seriously. We’re honoured, even if we don’t understand half of what’s being said. We hear ‘weltmeister’ and we think, OK, maybe we’re up next, maybe that’s our turn.”
Also, in attendance at the A1 Major Vienna media conference on Tuesday were Norwegians Anders Mol and Christian Sorum, who have won six World Tour gold medals this season and nine titles in the last 13 months.
“It means a lot and I like to be a part of it for sure," said the 22-year-old Mol, who placed third with Sorum at the 2019 World Championships in Hamburg on July 7. "You see who we’re sitting with, the world champions and the top teams. It means a lot also that it’s broadcast live on television, that’s what we need and it’s super important. It’s nice to share our opinions about this tournament.”
Mol and Sorum are the defending A1 Major Vienna champions after defeating Poland's Michal Bryl and Grzegorz Fijalek in the men's finale in 2018. Barbora Hermannova and Marketa Slukova from nearby Czech Republic captured the Vienna women's gold medal last year with a win over Fernanda Alves and Barbara Seixas of Brazil.
All four finalists are in this year's event along with the 2018 Vienna bronze medal winners Cherif Samba/Ahmed Tijan of Qatar and Sanne Keizer and Madelein Meppelink of the Netherlands.
With an international beach volleyball event returning to the Austrian capital for the third-straight year, the A1 Major Vienna is being played on the Donauinsel.
The A1 Major Vienna concludes Saturday for women and Sunday for men. The winning teams share the $40,000 first-place prizes along with collecting 1,200 points that count towards qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.