This week I managed to catch up with Team Fireball’s Julia Tokarenko and Maria Sviridova. These incredible ladies have been phenomenal on the UK Beach Tour over the last year, and were crowned Champions of the Women’s UKBT Grand Slam Series in September.
We asked them a few questions about their background and how they got into volleyball. Here’s what they said:
When I was around 16 I became interested in beach volleyball, so I started playing beach between my indoor seasons. I was mainly competing in Russia (the best results was 5th place in the Russian championship) but I also played some European competitions like Eevza. Although I have always considered myself as an indoor player, with age I’m developing a big passion for the beach.
In beach volleyball I particularly enjoy the amount of contribution you make to the game compared to indoor where it’s shared between 6 players. I also really like coaching and creating tactics for the games.
My interest in volleyball came from my parents, they weren’t playing professionally but they loved this sport so much that I fell in love with it too. Me and my twin sister started playing when we were 11. In the age of 14 we joined pro indoor team but from time to time we were playing beach volleyball just for fun and were competing in local beach volleyball tournaments, but soon we realized that we have more potential to get successful in the beach, moreover, we liked it much more. That’s why we decided to move to the bigger Russian city Saint Petersburg where we had more opportunities to play beach volleyball professionally. That is how my career in beach volleyball started.
I took part in a lot of Russian, few European and a couple of World tournaments. I’d say there are three biggest achievements in my volleyball career: 2nd place in EEVZA Beach volleyball Tour in Vilnus in 2014 where I was playing with my twin sister, 4th place in Russian Final championship in 2017 and from the recent ones it’s a victory in the UK National beach volleyball championship in 2021 which where I was playing with my current partner Yulia. It’s a pleasure for me to participate in UKBT tournaments and we will try to keep our performances on a high level in the upcoming beach season.
The first tournament Julia and Maria will be taking part in for the upcoming beach season is the Fireball Welsh Grand Slam, taking place in June. We can’t wait to see what they bring to the court this year.
Make sure to check out their socials here: