Chinese duo claim Moscow leg of World Beach Volleyball Tour

China has beaten the Olympic champions, USA, to win the Moscow leg of the World Beach Volleyball Tour. But despite the lack of Russian interest plying in the finals, there was NO shortage of spectators.

A beach in the center of the city is about the last thing you would expect to find in the Russian capital. However, a small strip of sand has been playing host to the latest round of the World Beach Volleyball Tour over the last week.

It is the third time Moscow has held the event, and it is growing in popularity with each year.

The stadium was packed to capacity for the men's finals, despite there being no Russian involvement.

Russia has yet to set the Beach Volleyball world alight, but there were encouraging signs, with one pair reaching the quarter-finals in the men's event. And one half of the reigning men's Olympic Volleyball champion-pairing says progress is being made in Russia.

One country that has taken to the sport like a duck to water has been China, who picked up two medals at the Beijing games. They also had two representatives in the Moscow leg of the World Tour, Wu and Xu.

In the final, the Chinese duo were up against the reigning Olympic Champions, Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhouse. It proved to be a tight affair, with both pairs sharing the first two sets to send the match into a winner-takes-all decider.

And against the odds it was the Chinese duo who took it 17 to 15, to secure victory and a check for US$43,500 – a very successful event for the Chinese, who were also triumphant in the women's final.

Not much for the Russians to shout about this year, but continued improvement is encouraging, with Moscow next hosting the event in 2011.