Meet our elite Fireball players!
Julia Tokarenko and Mariya Sviridova
Both Julia & Mariya come from Saint Petersburg, Russia. Julia was playing pro indoor volleyball in Finland, Kazakhstan, Russia, and England. She is a vice-champion of the Kazakhstan national league in 2016 as well as a national England champion in 2020 as a part of the Polonia Ladies team. She was also competing in beach volleyball in the Russian national league in 2012-2016.
Mariya is an experienced beach volleyball player. Her indoor volleyball career started when she was 12 years old. In 2011, Mariya switched to beach volleyball and fell in love with it! In the same year, she met her friend and current volleyball partner Yulia Tokarenko. Between 2013 to 2015, she represented her country at the European Junior Championships. During 2011-2018, she took part in multiple European and Russian Championships and became a medalist in a few of them. In 2017, Mariya and her twin sister entered the semi-final Final stage of the Russian Championship and got their long-awaited Master of Sports titles. At the end of 2019, Mariya moved to the UK and joined the Polonia Ladies Team that went on to win the National Championship 2020.
Mariya and Julia participated in a few tournaments in the UK in 2019 and 2020. They won a Nation’s Tournament in 2019. In 2020 they won 2 gold medals and became the second-best beach volleyball pair in the UK. The current goal is to participate in the World Tour 1 star tournament if travelling permits.
Sam Dunbavin and Haydn Lawson
Sam and Haydn are an English professional beach volleyball duo based in North Devon. They have a mutual understanding that few can match after growing up together, attending the same school and club. Currently, Sam and Haydn are pushing for qualification to the 2022 Commonwealth Games and beyond.
Haydn’s beach volleyball career began at 11 years old. He’s been a consistently tough competitor to beat in the UK Beach Tour since 2018. He made his World Tour debut in September 2021, when he and Sam won their first World Tour match together in the FIVB 1 star event in Warsaw. His goal this year is to qualify for the main draw of a future World Tour event.
As well as running Fireball, Sam is one of the UK’s top beach volleyball players. After graduating from Cambridge University in 2018, Sam set his sights on turning professional, and has been advancing up the national rankings since then. He is passionate about seeking out opportunties to improve as a player, and absolutely loves the thrill of competing and training. Like Haydn, Sam’s goal is to compete at the Commonwealths this year and to qualify for the main draw of a few World Tours.