Mol and Sørum aiming for the sky on return to Vienna Major

Courtesy of Beach Volleyball Major Series Media Service

Norwegian duo swap ferris wheel stunt for shot at title glory.

Anders Mol and Christian Sørum will find themselves on far more solid ground this week than during their last visit to Austria for the Vienna Major in 2018.

The Norwegian pair helped to highlight last year’s event by taking to the skies against rivals Clemens Doppler and Alex Horst 215 feet (65 metres) in the sky from the top of the city’s iconic Riesenrad ferris wheel. The 2019 edition gets under way on Thursday. Here is all you need to know:

– Now back on terra firma, the defending champions, who moved to the top of the world rankings after winning the Viennese event a year ago, begin as the tournament favourites.

– Back in 2018, they defeated Polish duo Michal Bryl and Grzegorz Fijałek 21-12, 21-17 for what was then a second Major Series title and marked a run of 19 matches unbeaten on the circuit.

– Their eye-catching stunt on the Riesenrad was labelled Serve the Sky and, at the time, Horst admitted: “I was scared. I closed my eyes on the way up but, when we reached the top, I opened them and the view was amazing. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

– This time, Mol and Sørum arrive in Austria bidding to improve on their epic semi-final loss at the World Championships earlier this month, a title won by Russian duo Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Oleg Stoyanovskiy. At 22, the latter is the youngest world champion in the sport’s history.

– After pocketing a share of the $60,000 top prize, Stoyanovskiy said: “I have no words. I never imagined being world champion many years ago, I’m so happy. The support was amazing, the fans were cheering after every point and that made it hard for us to communicate.”

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