Jinjiang, China, May 24, 2019 – Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka continue to realize that they will be the team representing Latvia at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in Hamburg 2019.
The young Latvian team – Graudina is 22-years old, Kravcenoka is 21 years old – will travel to Hamburg in June to take part in their first FIVB World Championships. The pair began playing together as juniors in 2013, but have been training apart as Graudina is studying in California and Kravcenoka living in Latvia.
“In the winter we didn’t train together, so it feels a bit like a new pair coming together because we’ve been playing together for a long time,” Graudina said.
Graudina and Kravcenoka started competing with different partners throughout the year but are now reuniting and building their excitement for their first appearance in the World Championship.
“As a kid watching the last world champions in Vienna on television with my mum and dad, watching all the teams I may have played once and being there on the spot, I have goose bumps, so it’s amazing,” Graudina said.
“We’re very happy to be in the main draw tournament because we were like first behind the line a month ago,” Kravcenoka said. Last year’s best result for Graudina and Kravcenoka was a quarter-final finish at the Yangzhou 4-Star and the pair is focused on bringing their best to Hamburg.
“We’re going to Ostrava and Warsaw next and then we’re going to have a short training camp at home in Jurmala to prepare for Hamburg,” Kravcenoka said.
“We have two men’s teams in Jurmala with which we play, and it’s so fun as it’s a different volleyball, it’s so fast, so it helps us a lot. Not so much for them, but we’re glad they’re accepting us,” Graudina said.
The team heads in the right direction in Jinjiang defeating Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil, 2-0 (21-19, 21-16) from the United States. They then beat Austrians Katharina Schützenhöfer / Lena Plesiutschnig, 2-0 (21-17, 29-27) to the top of their pool and enter the single elimination round 2.
“The Austrians made it necessary for us to play our best game. It was a really tough match, we had to give our all in the early morning match,” Graudina said.
“We really enjoyed the match that was our main goal for the game,” Kravcenoka said.