Klagenfurt, Austria, July 30, 2016 - The US$800,000 A1 Major Klagenfurt did not start well for Nina Betschart and Tanja Huberli with a pair of pool play setbacks Wednesday, but the young Switzerland women’s team recovered to win five of their next six matches to claim the bronze medal here Saturday afternoon before a jammed-packed center court of 8,000 fans.
Seeded 18th in the A1 Major Klagenfurt, Betschart and Huberli rallied from their disastrous start to posted a 2-1 (14-21, 21-14, 22-20) win in 53 minutes over 13th-seeded and Rio Olympic-bound Ana Gallay and Georgina Klug of Argentina to share the $32,000 third-place prize.
The Argentineans, who shared the $24,000 fourth-place prize, had defeated Betschart and Huberli twice previously on the FIVB World Tour with both being in pool play. The Swiss pair has now finished fifth, fifth, 17th and third in their last fourth FIVB World Tour events to currently rank 18th on the international circuit in their first season of competition together.
The win also secured Switzerland a second spot on the A1 Major Klagenfurt podium as fifth-seeded Joana Heidrich and Nadine Zumkehr represented the land-locked country in the women’s gold medal match after posting a 2-0 (21-19, 21-17) semi-final win in 42 minutes over Gallay and Klug.
only other times on the FIVB World Tour since the start of women’s play in 1992
that Switzerland captured two medals at an event was last September at back-to-back events
in Russia and China when Heidrich/Zumkehr and Isabelle Forrer/Anouk Verge-Depre
were the podium placers for the Swiss in Sochi and Xiamen, respectively.
Heidrich and Zumkehr’s gold medal opponent Saturday were Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst as the top-seeded Germans posted a convincing 2-0 (21-11, 21-19) semi-final win in 32 minutes over Betschart and Huberli. It is the second time that the two countries have played each other for a women’s FIVB World Tour gold medal with Zumkehr and Simone Kuhn defeated Ludwig and Sara Goller Niedrig for the Rome Grand Slam title in 2012.