Huge CONGRATULATIONS to Richmond Volleyball players Javier and Joaquin Bello who represented England and travelled to Czech Republic last weekend for the 2016 CEV U18 Beach Volleyball European Championship to secure a place in the quarter-finals. The best ever position for England in any CEV event.
Following a historic first place finish in Sweden at NEVZA U17 last month and finishing runners up at the Volleyball England Beach Tour in Bridlington, team Bello were on an all-time high. Seeded 19th in the competition, Bello/Bello had confidence going into their first pool match against Finland, which they comfortably won 2-0 (21-16, 21-15).
Tougher opposition was on the horizon though, as the boys faced France’s Platre/Bassereau in front of the cameras on centre court. Cheered on by the travelling England supporters, Bello/Bello gave a good account of themselves in the first set, but were convincingly beaten 2-0 (21-11, 21-9) by the eventual semi-finalists.
In their final pool stage match, Javier and Joaquin were desperate for a win over Bulgaria to progress into the next round. In an epic first set, Javier/Joaquin showed true grit and determination to win 23-21. With the wind taken out of their sails, Bulgaria struggled in the following set, where England took advantage to dominate 21-14 (2-0), progressing to the second round.
England were undaunted by the Czech crowd, taking the first set 21-18. In the second set, Javier/Joaquin made history once again, beating Rulisek/Tezzele 22-20 to secure a place in the quarter-finals and the best ever position for England in any CEV event.
In the quarterfinal match, Russia’s Gorbenko/Ivanov were between England and a place in the semi-finals. Javier/Joaquin struggled in both sets against a strong opposition, losing 21-12, 21-14 (2-0), but proved they will certainly be able to step up in the future.
At just 16 years old, Javier/Joaquin Bello are already the youngest ever team to win the Junior Volleyball England Beach tour, the youngest ever team to make it to a senior VEBT final, the first England team to win gold at any NEVZA event and have now secured England’s highest position at any CEV event.
Report from Volleyball England.