Lausanne, Switzerland, April 17, 2015 — Pre-season training complete the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) launches the Olympic qualifying window for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Brazil with its 2015 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour starting this week in China at the double-gender US$150,000 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Fuzhou Open 2015.
Next week’s season-opening FIVB Fuzhou Open will see men’s action running from Tuesday through Saturday and women’s competition running from Wednesday through Sunday. Using a format of country quota playoffs as needed followed by a one-day qualification tournament to determine the final eight spots in each gender’s 32-team main draw tournaments followed by round-robin pool play and a single-elimination bracket for the final 24 teams, the event will be held for the second time in Fuzhou, with the purpose-built site on the sands of Mianjiang Riverside Park.
Reflecting the enthusiasm of a new season, a total of 65 men’s teams from 31 countries selected by their national federations and 57 women’s teams from 25 countries selected by their federations are officially entered in the talented field in the FIVB Fuzhou Open but numerous athletes are teamed with different partners to start the 2015 season.
In last year’s second FIVB Fuzhou Open world tour event, the gold medal winners for men was Italy’s Paolo Nicolai/Daniele Lupo and for the women was USA’s April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings. A new team in 2014 of USA Olympians, Walsh Jennings is a three-time Olympic gold medalist with Misty May-Treanor and Ross won the silver medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games with Jen Kessy.China history
Fuzhou is one of eight Chinese cities to host an international FIVB beach volleyball event. Others have been Beijing, Dalian, Lianyungang, Maoming, Sanya, Shanghai and Xiamen.
China has hosted 49 FIVB World Tour events through 2014, including 20 men’s and 29 women’s tournaments. Host country China has won 19 previous medals on its country’s soil, including two men’s silver medals, six women’s gold medals, seven women’s silver medals, and five women’s bronze medals.
In addition to the FIVB Fuzhou Open, the other stop scheduled in China in 2015 on the FIVB international schedule: the FIVB Xiamen Open (September 22 to 27). Both will be double-gender events.Team China
As the host nation, China receives three teams in each gender pre-seeded into the main draw. For the men, China’s teams are Cheng Chen/Cong Yang, Zhuoxin Li/Lizeng Zhang and Jiaxin Wu/Jian Li. The women’s teams pre-seeded from China are Meimei Lin/Yuanyuan Ma, Fan Wang/Yuan Yue and Chen Xue/Xinyi Xia. China also has three reserve teams in each gender. For men are Peng Gao/Yang Li, Likejiang Ha/Jian Bao Hao Zhou/Lei Li and for women are Chunxia Chen/Zhaochen Wei, Xinxin Wang/Jingjing Ding and Yuanyuan Wang/Ningya Tang.
For the season-opening FIVB Fuzhou Open, top men’s seeds are No. 1 Reinder Nummerdor/Christiaan Varenhorst of the Netherlands, No. 2 Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Konstantin Semenov of Russia, No. 3 Theodore Brunner/Nick Lucena of the United States, No. 4 Josh Binstock/Sam Schachter of Canada, No. 5 Isaac Kapa/Christopher McHugh of Australia and at No. 6 is Netherlands’ 2013 FIVB World Champions Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen who are coming back off of injuries in 2015.
Top seeds for the women are USA’s defending Fuzhou champions and top-seeded April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings, China’s No. 2 seed Fan Wang/Yuan Yue, Germany’s third-seeded Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude, USA’s fourth-seeded Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat, Australia’s fifth-seeded Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy and Canada’s sixth-seeded Melissa Humana-Parades/Taylor Pischke.FIVB World Tour breakdown
The 2015 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour schedule will include five FIVB Grand Slams, the new Swatch FIVB Major Series of four events, six FIVB Opens and a special Swatch FIVB World Tour Season Final in the United States. A showcase event will be the $1 million 2015 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in the Netherlands.
A total of 15 countries will host events this year as the 2015 FIVB World Tour also begins the Olympic qualification process with all FIVB World Tour events (except the FIVB World Tour Finals) in 2015 up until June 13, 2016 counting towards the Olympic Ranking in order to determine 15 spots for each gender that will take part in each 24-team field in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.FIVB World Rankings
The 2015 FIVB World Ranking system will again include FIVB Beach Volleyball Grand Slam, the new FIVB Major Series and FIVB Open events along with additional pre-approved events at the inter-continental, continental and national levels.
The 2014-2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball Continental Cup also returns this year as it starts its portion of the qualification process for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Brazil.FIVB World Tour purses
The FIVB Grand Slam and Swatch FIVB Major Series competitions, all double-gender each have $800,000 in total purses. The total purse FIVB World Championships the Netherlands 2015 will be $1,000,000 and $500,000 total for the Swatch FIVB World Tour Season Final which will feature the top eight teams in each gender.
The nine FIVB Open tournaments in 2015, seven double-gender, one men only and one women only, will have $150,000 total purses for the double gender events and $75,000 for the single-gender competitions.FIVB Fuzhou Open purse
The gold medal teams in each gender in the FIVB Fuzhou Open will each split $11,000, the silver $8,000, the bronze $6,000 and fourth place $4,500. The men medal matches will be held on Saturday and the women’s medal matches will be held on Sunday.FIVB event format
Implemented in 2013, the format of all the FIVB Beach Volleyball international tournaments – whether FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships, FIVB Beach Volleyball Grand Slam or FIVB Beach Volleyball Open – are the same, featuring pool play followed by single elimination knockout rounds. Country Quota playoffs will return as needed in 2015 to determine the final teams for the qualification tournament.Growing history
The FIVB Fuzhou Open will be the 315th FIVB men’s event since the FIVB began play in 1987 and the 278th FIVB women’s tournament since they started in 1992.On the horizon
The FIVB Fuzhou Open will be the first double-gender FIVB open event of the 2015 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar. After a two-week break, the second open event will commence in Lucerne, Switzerland from May 12-17. The following week, the lone women’s-only open of the 2015 FIVB Beach Volleyball calendar will be played in Prague, Czech Republic from May 20-24 followed by the first of five grand slams with the FIVB Moscow Grand Slam from May 26-31.