Lausanne, Switzerland, November 6, 2018 – Denis Shekunov and Dmitrii Veretiuk can look back on 2018 as the year that they made their breakthrough on the beach volleyball world.
The Russian duo won gold at the Nanjing 2018 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships and the CEV U20 European Championships.
Shekunov and Veretiuk defeated Germany’s Lukas Pfretzschner and Flip John 2-0 (21-19, 21-18) in the Nanjing final, and beat France’s Paul Nicole and Timothee Platre 2-0 (21-14, 21-19) to claim their maiden European crown in Anapa on Russia’s black sea coast.
They also made their FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour debuts at the Anapa 1-Star tournament and then followed up with an appearance at the Moscow 4-Star tournament.
However, none of their success would have been possible if one of their coaches hadn’t taken a chance and moved them to beach volleyball from volleyball.
“I was a volleyball player when two years ago I was offered the chance to try beach volleyball,” Veretiuk said. “I took part in my first tournament. My present coach Igor Olefir saw me there and suggested I focus on beach volleyball.
“This season was an extremely eventful one and we have been working hard to achieve the success we enjoyed. We are going to keep up the pace of our development and look forward to achieving further success.”
As Shekunov is aged 17 and Veretiuk 16, both players will be able to defend their U19 World Championship in two years-time.
Along with their CEV U20 title they won bronze at the CEV U18 European Championships and finished fourth at the U22 European Championships. In recognition CEV awarded the pair the prize for outstanding achievement in age-grade competition.
“I am grateful for the chance I have had to prove myself,” Shekunov said. “It was a very difficult season with many tournaments. We won and lost, but we won’t stop here and want to go further.”