Georgia's Renato "Geor" Gomes and Jorge "Gia" Terceiro earned the first beach volleyball semifinal berth at the Beijing Olympics on Monday, the first time in the country's history.
In a quarterfinal of men's beach volleyball tournament, they downed higher-ranked Reinder Nummerdor and Richard Schuil of the Netherlands in straight sets (21-19, 21-19).
This was the first time a Georgian team gets a berth in the semifinal of beach volleyball tournament at the Olympics.
Soon after the last winning point was made, Terceiro got across the rail and ran to the top of the spectators stand, standing below the national flag of Georgia and stretching both his arms.
"In the first set when we trailed 9-12, I saw the national flag. It gave me power," he said later at a press conference.
The Georgian duo will take on Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser of the United States in the semifinal on Aug. 20.
The Dutch team, ranking fifth on the Olympic qualification, said they were disappointed with the game against the Georgians, finishing 15th on the Olympic qualification ranking.
"Our serves and side-outs were bad in the match. The Georgians played well and deserved to win," said Schuil, who was a three-time Dutch volleyball Olympian with a 1996 gold medal in Atlanta.
For both of the Dutch players, the Beijing Games are their first Olympics.
The beach volleyball tournament at the Beijing Olympics would be exciting as many teams are close in strength, coaches said before the Games started.
"Except two or three teams which are relatively strong and consistent in performance, most of the other teams are almost at the same level, " said Miao Zhihong, head coach of the Chinese team.
The competition in the men's tournament would be very fierce and the ranking in the Olympic qualification list didn't necessarily mean their real abilities, Dutch beach volleyball team official Bert Goedkoop also said.
In a quarterfinal match held earlier Monday, U.S. gold favorites Rogers/Dalhausser edged out German pair David Klemperer and Eric Koreng in straight sets (21-13,25-23) in a contentious match.
The first red card in the beach volleyball tournament was given to the German team due to a time delay and a point was awarded to the Americans for that.
"It was a time delay, but not seriously, we were disappointed with how the point was awarded. We have no problems with the referee but we definitely had problems with his interpretations." Klemperer claimed later.
(Xinhua News Agency August 18, 2008)