Sunday I spent most of the day around the training courts hoping in some luck for meeting who I really hope to meet.. but luck and me usually seldom cross paths.. Anyway I could watch the practice of a couple of Japanese teams, both men and women. And some other teams were also around getting warm and “tasting” Norwegian sand.. Actually Miwa and Take arrived only few hours before their match on Tuesday, and from the little I understood from Take’s blog it was not so well organised..
After a short break from the fields, “break” spent at work (yippy.. since saturday I have more than 100 extra hours… and still a lot of work to do 8O ), I went back to the fields to enjoy also the great sun.. a further proof that guessing weather (check the last paragraph of the post!) is not an easy thing in Norway!!! :-) The result of the sun exposition was, as usual, a good red shade over my exposed skin.. making the ground for real sun! From last year, quite unused, I still have sun-filter and after sun lotion.. :-D
Monday was the official start of the women tournament, with country quota selections, and a lot of field practice for most of the teams.. For the country quota, I assisted in the main court the duel between Brasialin teams: Maria Clara - Carol and Agatha – Shaylyn. The former team, Maria Clara – Carol won 2-1 (21-17, 14-21, 16-14) an extremely nice and well fought match!
Tuesday has been the real thing: qualification day for the women and some country quota for the men. Tanaka Shinako, 田中姿子 – Koizumi Eiko, 小泉栄子, a team I did not know much before but I am really appreciating their smiles now :-D, won the first match without major problems against the Dutch team v.d. Heuvel-de Vries [seed 22]: final score 2-0 (21-10, 21-18) in 37 minutes. The smile here and another one the day before are one of the reasons that I really hope to meet this team again ;-)
For my favourite Japanese team, Asao Miwa, 浅尾美和 - Nishibori Take, 西堀健実, the competition did not last very long. They played the first, and only, match against the German team Goller – Ludwig, who had qualified through the country quota matches. For Take & Miwa there has not been any real winning chances: final score 0-2 (15-21, 12-21) in 33 minutes. I did not really understand the situation at trainer level for Japanese beach volley: it seems there was no Japanese trainer assisting their match. A bit weird :?
Destiny made the same German team facing Tanaka – Koizumi. Shinako & Kae came very close to victory. Unfortunately a couple of mistakes from the Japanese team and some very lucky saves by the German ones, let the latter win and approde to the Main Draw – Round Robin phase. The final score for the Germany victory had been 2-1 (22-20, 21-23, 15-11) in 1 hour, a very nice battle.. but not with a happy ending for Japan and me! :-(
With pleasure I noticed that the Brasilian team Maria Clara – Carol successifully went through qualification winning both rounds 2-0 against first Erni – Graessli SUI  and next Keizer – Leenstra NED  8-)
Wednesday presented the Round Robin tournament for the female competition and the qualification for the male one. For the latter, I assisted only to the winning second match of the Japanese team Nishimura – Watanabe, a very easy win (2-0 with partials 21-16, 21-13 in 35 minutes) against the Norwegian team Ingeborgrud – Goranson E, seed 29. The Japanese were totally superior but they lost some points with ingenuity, probably because of their superiority. That might be a problem for them in the future. Especially since from today they are in the Round Robin part.
Anyway thanks to the speed of this match, I could go and assist to the another very nice victory of the two Brasilian girls Maria Clara – Carol against the American couple Boss – Ross. These two American tough girls had come through the qualification tournament winning at Round 2 against the Chinese team Zuo Man, 左曼 – Lu Wang, 王露, in one of the first “wet” matches here in Stavanger. The final score was 2-1 for Brasil, with partials: 21-16, 15-21, 15-13 in 50 minutes.. under an almost constant rain!! The terrible weather is really killing the competition. Very little people around, and, trust me, when you stand or sit out there, in rain and wind, it is not so easy to enjoy the match.. you just hope they finish as soon as possible! But with these victory, Maria Clara & Carol are now leading Pool D together with another Brasialian team, Renata – Talita: today match between these two teams will decide the final ranking for the next phase, but both teams are for sure qualified!
A bit more unsure is the situation for the last women Japanese team, in Pool G: Teru Saiki Mika , 佐伯美香 – Kusuhara Chiaki, 楠原千秋. With 1 win (2 sets to 0) and 1 loss (2 sets to 1), they are playing today with a French team, with lower seed, at least on paper. Right now they are second in the Pool, same point as a local Norwegian team but better set win/lost ratio, and they still have a chance to get the first and better place.