2017-08-02 17:54:00 CET

Cubans' sacrifice proves vital

Relaxation paves the way for victory for Cuba in Vienna

This is not a summer of normality for Leila Martinez and Lidy Echeverria, but the sacrifices look to have been eternally worthwhile after they waltzed their way to the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships presented by A1 last 16.

The Cubans usually spend their summer with studies instead of sand, but you won’t find them complaining in Vienna after their impressive tournament took another giant step forward in the Danube Island.

Getting through to the elimination spots only thanks to a lucky loser second wind, the pair defied their inferior seeding to defeat Madelein Meppelink and Sophie van Gestel of the Netherlands on Wednesday, a feather in the cap result if ever there was one.

It was a victory they were forced to dig deep in too, but when it comes to their life both on and off the court, they know just how much you have to give to succeed.

“Netherlands is a good team, they are strong and play the whole year on the World Tour,” said Leila.

“We played relaxed without a lot of pressure, just trying to do what we know what to do. 

“We have to sacrifice a lot of things to be here because we study and do other things. 

“The game was just working for us. The first goal was to make it to the round of 32 but now we think we can go further.  It’s worth all the sacrifices we have made.”

American duo Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson now await for a place in the quarter-finals, though the match was tougher than the two-set scoreline suggested.

Both teams shared the same number of the faults, but it was the attacking flair that helped the Cubans wrap up a 21-16, 21-19 win.

You can watch Cuba take on America in their last-16 match, live and free on BeachStream. Click here to sign-up!