Klaipėda downtown “Theater Square ‘Anikė’” became a beach volleyball court when 9 large trucks of sand were filled up and a 400 seated place tribune for spectators was constructed. The cause of these changes was an international women’s beach volleyball tournament “Amber Cup” by Kredito Garantas that took place on 28-29 of June in 2019.
The tournament hosted 12 professional beach volleyball teams from Israel, Austria, Spain, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Russia, Sweden and Lithuania. The teams were drawn into 4 pools of 3 teams according their ranking points. Potential leading teams have not met on the first tournament day because they were playing in separate pools. First place winners of the pool were facing second place winners of another pool. Ieva Dumbauskaitė and Irina Zobnina were representatives of Lithuanian beach volleyball team.
Ieva Dumbauskaitė shared her impressions about beach volleyball stating that “she had an opportunity to play beach volleyball in Switzerland Alps, Finland’s shopping mall 4th floor or even in one of the German downtown cities. Finally, this sort of event is going to happen in downtown Klaipėda. One of my dreams will come true to play in my own hometown as this city takes an important part of my heart.” Klaipėda city mayor Vytautas Grubliauskas also affirmed by saying that “world will happen to know that beach volleyball is a highly respected and enjoyable sport and people of this city also know how well they play. I have a belief that Klaipėda may become a beach volley capital and and brought up one of its leaders – Ieva Dumbauskaitė”.
Winners of the tournament became sisters from Ukraine – Inna and Iryna Makhno. Sisters also conquered the sympathy of the supporters with its exceptional playing abilities in the heart of Klaipėda. Inna and Iryna Makhno won against team from Austria Eva Freiberger and Patricia Teul in the final game with the following result 2-0 (24:22, 21:15). The third place were taken by a team from Spain – Fernandez Navarro Amaranta and Angela Lobato against Marie-Sara Stochlova and Miroslava Duranova from Czech Republic with the result of 2-0 (21:13, 21:12).
Klaipėda city mayor Vytautas Grubliauskas together with tournament organizers VšĮ “Klaipėda Beach Volleyball Club owner Andrius Dumbauskas, Klaipėda city Athletics School (LAM) event organizer Darius Raišutis, and one of the main tournament supporters “Kredito Garantas” Jonas Butkus – awarded sportswomen with the prizes. The best beach volleyball teams shared a prize of 5000 EUR that was established by “Kredito Garantas”. Tournament winners sisters Makhno after winning a final match shared that “We feel so happy participating in a wonderful tournament and had an opportunity to enjoy sports event (beach volleyball) for 2 full days. Winning the tournament filled even greater emotions”. Winners quickly gathered many supporters and after the tournament most of them got an opportunity to have a selfie or a snapshot with sisters Makhno.
Although many people got regret after Lithuanian team was eliminated by Czech Republic sportswomen with the result 0-2 (10:21, 19:21). Lithuanian team stated that “we played badly. We could serve as we used to serve and our defense were weak against opponents. Seemed like a ‘black day’, but we don’t want to blame anyone or anyhow as it was only our fault as lost our sets and games”. Irina Zobnina also added that “seems like you do all you can, but nothing goes the way you expect to go. Surely, this is disappointing, but there is none to blame except yourself”. Ieva Dumbauskaitė found positive things as well “Lithuanian beach volleyball supporters are exceptional! Even during a group stage match, tribunes are crowded, won’t find an empty space. We used to play in various tournaments and so many supporters is a rare occasion, only on final games they get filled up.
Tournament organizers were also very pleased with a successful event “We have not expected to see so many spectators and supporters in tribunes. Most of them even could find an empty spot. We have got many reviews and encouragement to organize the tournament next year so it would become an annual tradition. We always have various ideas and this tournament gave some new ideas on how to make the tournament better and more attractive”, said Andrius Dumbauskas. Darius Raišutis (LAM event organizer) concluded that “Klaipėda citizens really prove to be very interested in sport events and were happy even happy unitedly to stand and support their team – this is an amazing feeling”!