Chetumal, Mexico, November 14, 2019 – If you ask an up-and-coming beach volleyball player what an ideal partner would be like, the answer would probably include a mention of experience and a resume with a few victories in big tournaments.
And sometimes it takes players years competing on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour before they finally partner with someone with that profile. But for Taras Myskiv it didn’t take that long as the 23-year-old Russian attracted the attention of Nikita Liamin in just 14 tournaments and a full season playing internationally.
The 34-year-old veteran has been one of the top blockers on the World Tour over the last few years and finished fifth at the Rio 2016 Olympics with Dmitri Barsouk. He also won a bronze at the World Championships and a pair of World Tour gold medals in 2017 with reigning world champion Viacheslav Krasilnikov.
Myskiv and Liamin have been together since May and have three fifth-place finishes as their best results so far, but the benefits of having a veteran mentor to rely on go far beyond that for the younger of the two.
“It’s been amazing to play with him,” Myskiv said during this week’s Chetumal event in Mexico. “He’s got experience in the Olympics and the World Championships and has also been pretty successful in his indoor career. He’s always talking with me during training sessions and matches and I feel that it helps me a lot to improve.
Myskiv had already won himself a pair of World Tour gold medals in one-star events with Valeriy Samoday in 2018, but he was surprised when the Russian coaching staff decided he would be Liamin’s next partner after the blocker had a short union with Igor Velichko.
“I was surprised when they told me that,” the defender acknowledged. “My partner had an injury and I wasn’t sure what my future would look like, so this was probably the best news I could get at the time.”
Myskiv and Liamin are currently in action in Chetumal, where the team debuted with a hard-fought 2-1 (18-21, 21-18, 15-13) victory over Belgians Dries Koekelkoren and Tom van Walle. The team now face Germany’s Nils Ehlers and Lars Flüggen on Friday.
“Matches like these are the ones that make me grow,” added Myskiv. “To be able to play in tournaments like these and the World Championships, it’s huge for me. And I’m only doing it because I have Nikita by my side.”