Antalya, Turkey, October 25, 2015 – Italy’s Alex Ranghieri and Adrian Carambula claimed their first gold medal on the World Tour at the inaugural FIVB Antalya Open on Sunday. In the final they defeated Mexico’s Juan Virgen and Lombardo Ontiveros 2-0 (21-19, 21-16).
The second seeded Italians were a lot more in control than in the semifinal against Latvia’s Martins Plavins and Haralds Regza (24-22, 21-19). They played a very clean game with a lot of service pressure and hardly any unforced errors.
“It was a final”, Carambula said. “We knew it was game time. We prepared well, we played with high energy and I think we played a really good game. I think we deserved it. I think we have been working hard this year. We are making the right moves, training hard. We are really happy with this win.”
The Italians played in their ninth event together in their first season as a team. So far their best finish was third place in Porec, but Ranghieri won gold before with Marco Caminati at the beginning of this year in Lucerne.
“I have no words for it”, the 28-year old blocker said. “And these 500 points are so important for the Olympics.” On the provisional Olympic ranking the Italians place 17th at the moment.
To add some more points they will play in the final World Tour event of the year in Doha. “That will be our last one and then we are going to take a little break”, said Carambula, who will need some rehab on a little tear in his shoulder. “We feel good, we are still hungry, I really don’t want to stop, but we will take a little break after that.”
Mexico’s Virgen and Ontiveros, who defeated Chilean cousins Esteban and Marco Grimalt (21-16, 21-18) in the semifinal, won their second World Tour medal in three seasons together, after claiming the bronze in Puerto Vallarta last year.
They were outplayed by a hard hitting Ranghieri and the placed cut shots of Carambula and were trailing throughout the whole game “But it was a good match for us. We learned a lot today”, Ontiveros said. “But so many things made the difference in this game.”
But it was not Carambula’s sky ball serve, Ontiveros said. “They just play a tough game and they were almost flawless. That made the difference. It wasn’t the service, we could control the service except for one ace. We thought that we would have some extra trouble with the sky ball service, but except for one perfect sky ball that hit the net we did fine.”
Latvia claim the bronze
New team Plavins and Regza grabbed their first medal in only five events with a 2-0 (21-15, 21-17) win in the bronze medal match against Esteban and Marco Grimalt.
For Regza (23) the bronze is his first medal, but 30-year old Plavins won four gold, two silver and two bronzes on the World Tour before with different partners.
Plavins and Regza teamed up for the World Tour after winning the European Games in June and this was their second final four in only five events. In September they finished fourth in Xiamen.
“We are very happy, because it’s our first medal on the World Tour together”, Plavins said. “And we still remember how we felt after the fourth place in China. Now everything is perfect for us.”
Recharging for the bronze medal match was not easy he said. “But our coach told us that winning this bronze would be very important because of the Olympic ranking, every fifty points will be important next year. So we tried our best and are very happy we finished like this.”
Next year Plavins plans to participate in his third Olympics, after finishing 9th in 2008 in Beijing with Aleksandrs Samoilovs and third at the 2012 London Olympic Games with Janis Smedins.