Durban’s North Beach, once a mecca of beach volleyball activities in the country came alive with the hosting of the 7th leg of the Zone VI Beach Tour from 20 to 22 January. In the set- up of the playing venue the organisers made sure that spectators have easy access to watch all the scintillating actions packed encounters on offer in all four courts during the three day event. Despite the blistering African sun, 17 men’s teams and 14 women’s teams rocked up at the hallowed North Beach arena to get a slice of the prize money and the coveted title of being zonal champions.
In the men’s category, the Beach Tour’s number one pairing of Ainadino Martinho and Manjane cruised through to the quarter-final stages with effortless victories against Keveshan and Shaylin (South Africa) whom they thrashed in straight sets, 21-8; 21-3. It was a case of ‘baptism of fire’ for the first timers at this level of competition. The champions went on to defeat Hazi and Hamzah, also from South Africa by a 21-12; 21-12 margin. A disappointing performance from Zimbabweans, Keni and Chidzwa resulted in their 21-8; 21-15 beating. In the women’s category, number one seeds Sinaportar and Muianga from Mozambique will be joined by Zimbabwe’s Marange and Gaza in the quarter-final stages of the tournament.
Both pairings are regular participants on the Zonal Beach Tour. South Africans, Palesa Sekhonyana and Natasha Webber made their intentions quite clear that they will be amongst the medallists when they won all their group matches defeating Phamotse and Tolofi from Lesotho by a 21-13; 21-19 score line and triumphed over Zimbabwe’s Muchaoona and Tsungie in straight sets, 21-4; 21-16. Palesa and Natasha will be joined by Karina and Tatiana in the quarter final stages of the event which are scheduled for day 2 of the championship. In the men’s category, South Africa’s ‘’dark horses’’, Jonas Motlhobi and Thoko Ndingi surprised their opponents by defeating one of the tournament favourites, Jack and Chiswaniso from Botswana, by 2 sets to 1, 21-12; 15-21; 15-13. The Botswana lads are ranked number 2 in the tournament. With the scalp of the number 2 seeds in their back pocket, Ndingi and Motlhobi went on to post comfortable scores against Krafft & Kesselmann from Namibia, 21-15; 21-13 and Valaitham and Kemoloide, (South Africa), 21-13; 21-4 to book their place in the quarter finals.
The newly formed South African pairing of Leo Williams and Danilo Ludwiger were made to fight all the way to get into the quarter finals. They had a morale boosting win against the much- fancied Zimbabwean pairing of Machona and Trymore with a 21-16; 21-15 score line. Their tightly contested encounter against Mozambique’s Mondlane & Mungoi ended in a 21-19; 21-17 win in the South Africans’ favour. The South Africans are in a celebratory mood at Durban’s North Beach as they have for the first time four of their teams in the quarter final stages of the Zone VI Beach Tour.
VSA President Mr.Anthony Mokoena was ecstatic with the results and promised to plough more resources in to the development of beach volleyball which is considered as the fastest developing sport on the African continent. In a television interview on SuperSport at the North Beach playing venue President Mokoena indicated that VSA awaits the arrival of a dedicated beach volleyball coach funded by the FIVB to fast-track the sport through -out South Africa.
DONOVAN NAIR VSA SG
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