Germany’s Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst justified their top seeding at the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) Major Series event in Klagenfurt by beating Switzerland’s Joana Heidrich and Nadine Zumkehr in the women’s final today.
Having earlier beaten another Swiss pairing, Nina Betschart and Tanja Hüberli, 21-11, 21-19 in the semi-finals, Ludwig and Walkenhorst claimed a 24-22, 14-21, 15-11 victory over the fifth seeds.
The win ensured a fifth gold medal of the FIVB World Tour season in their last outing ahead of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where they are due to begin their campaign on August 7.
"It’s nice to do this now, and we did it for a long week and a long season," Walkenhorst said.
"It’s really good we had two weeks of practice before, which we put to good use.
"Now we have eight days more to make some more fine-tuning and play our best."
Ludwig and Walkenhorst have also clinched a spot in the FIVB World Tour Finals in Toronto in September.
Heidrich and Zumkehr, seeking their second FIVB World Tour title of the year, recorded their highest finish in a Grand Slam or Major Series event in a partnership that began in 2013 with an eye on Rio 2016.
Compatriots Betschart and Hüberli recovered from their semi-final loss to capture the bronze medal with a 14-21, 21-14, 22-20 win over Argentina’s Ana Gallay and Georgina Klug.
It is only the third time that Switzerland has placed two teams on the podium in an FIVB World Tour event.
In the men’s competition, top seeds Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins of Latvia defeated second seeds Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of The Netherlands 17-21, 21-15, 15-10 to advance to the semi-finals.
Samoilovs and Smedins, 2015 European Championship gold medallists on the same court, opened play today by eliminating Poland’s Grzegorz Fijalek and Mariusz Prudel with a 22-24, 21-16, 15-9 win.
Awaiting them in the last four are third seeds Ben Saxton and Chaim Schalk of Canada, who overcame Norway’s Anders Mol and Christian Sorum 21-16, 18-21, 15-13 in the quarter-finals.
The other semi-final pits fourth seeds Saymon Barbosa and Gustavo "Guto" Carvalhaes of Brazil against Poland’s Bartosz Losiak and Michal Bryl.
Barbosa and Guto defeated Italy’s Davide Dal Molin and Andrea Tomatis 21-16, 21-13 in the last-eight, while Losiak and Bryl beat Russia’s Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Artem Yarzutkin 21-19, 18-21, 15-8.
The semi-finals are scheduled to take place tomorrow and will be followed by the gold and bronze medal matches.