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2016-07-28 18:31:00 CET

Austria hails newest beach volleyball stars

Talk of the Center Court on Thursday was all about one team…

Get in! Martin Ermacora celebrates against the Canadians. Photocredit: Martin Steinthaler.Get in! Martin Ermacora celebrates against the Canadians. Photocredit: Martin Steinthaler.

The Center Court beach fans at Klagenfurt might just have found their new Austrian heroes of the future!

And no, it’s not Doppler/Horst, Huber/Seidl or Kunert/Dressler…

Martin Ermacora and Moritz Pristauz-Telsnigg delighted the packed stadium at the A1 Major Klagenfurt with an extravagant performance and crowd interaction that almost paid off against Olympic-bound Canadians Saxton/Schalk.

Ermacora is 22, Pristauz-Telsnigg just 20, but the pair whipped the home fans into a frenzy in the pouring rain despite their defeat in one of the most spectacular matches of the tournament so far.

The gripping action saw the Austrian boys take the first set only for the experienced Canadians to hit back to level the set score at 1-1.

But the third set was truly epic. Saxton/Schalk led 11-8 and 13-10 before Ermacora and Pristauz-Telsnigg staged a remarkable comeback. They had four points to win the match but each time the Canadians denied them and eventually the Olympians got the job done.

And even though they were on the wrong end of the scoreline, the youngsters were over the moon with their performance at a tournament they can barely believe they are competing in.

“It was like a dream,” blocker Martin told us. “Last year we were in the stands watching the guys and now we’re playing on Center Court and joining in with the crowd!

“I don’t know how many times I had ‘mein block, mein block’ in my head before and now we can do it with them!”

Five years ago Pristauz-Telsnigg used to cycle from his home to Klagenfurt every day during the tournament and was part of the many helping hands who make beach volleyball here so special.

“I used to be a volunteer and now I’m playing on Center Court, it’s just amazing,” said Moritz. “It’s a dream come true.

“Sure we’re disappointed, but we’re more than happy with the way we played. We’re looking forward to the next match – we’re happy even though we lost.”

The lively lads, who won their first Pool Play match yesterday, now need a positive result against another Canadian team going to the Olympics – Binstock/Schachter – to guarantee a place in the elimination round.

Good luck boys – the whole of Austria will be behind you.

The future’s bright, the future’s Ermacora and Pristauz-Telsnigg!

A captivated Center Court watch Moritz (left) and Martin (right) on Thursday. Photocredit: Martin Steinthaler.A captivated Center Court watch Moritz (left) and Martin (right) on Thursday. Photocredit: Martin Steinthaler.

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