Lausanne, Switzerland, August 25, 2015 - As the 2015 FIVB World Tour season winds down, the planet’s beach volleyball fans continue to closely watch the “Road to Rio” for the 2016 Olympic Games.
But with the Rio 2016 Olympic Games slightly less than a year away, the one ranking on the mind of the top competitors on the international beach volleyball circuit for the next two weeks will be the one that determines the “elite” 10-team fields for the US$500,000 SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals for both the men and women.
The fourth and final event on the 2015 SWATCH Major Series calendar, the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals will be played September 29-October 4 in the United States at Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The first three SWATCH Major Series events were part of the 2015 FIVB World Tour and were played in June and July at sites in Croatia (Porec), Norway (Stavanger) and Switzerland (Gstaad).
With a maximum of two teams per country, the top eight teams on both the men’s and women’s international circuit will qualify for the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals along with two “wild card” berths pairs per gender. The men’s and women’s competition in Fort Lauderdale will feature pool play that will set the field for the elimination rounds.
The inaugural SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals will feature the richest first-place prize at an international event with $100,000 being presented to the winning tandems. The previous best first-place prize was $84,000 for the men’s winners at back-to-back events in France and Portugal following the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games. The women’s top payday for a podium-topping team was $70,000 last season in back-to-back Grand Slam events in the Netherlands and the United States.
Points for all FIVB World Tour events starting with the season-opening tournament at the end of April in China through the Rio Open during the first week of September are being used to determine the top eight spots for the SWATCH FIVB World Finals with a maximum of two teams per country.
Three pairs from the beach volleyball power Brazil, including the newly-crowned FIVB world champions Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt and Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas, have clinched the top two spots in the men’s and women’s competition with two FIVB World Tour events left in the ranking period starting with this week’s Polish Grand Slam in Olsztyn.
Alison and Bruno won their fourth-straight FIVB World Tour event this past weekend in southern California where the Brazilians out-lasted Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena of the United States in the three-set gold medal match in Long Beach at the third annual ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball event.
The four consecutive gold medal finishes are the first on the men’s FIVB World Tour since August 2010 when Dalhausser and his Beijing 2008 Olympic Games gold medal partner Todd Rogers topped international podiums in Austria, Poland, Norway and Finland. Alison and Bruno started their streak by winning the World Championship trophy in The Hague July 5, followed by gold medals July 12 in Switzerland and July 26 in Japan.
In addition to topping the World Championship podium July 4 in The Hague, Agatha and Barbara have claimed FIVB World Tour gold medals this season in the Czech Republic and the United States (St. Petersburg). The Brazilians have appeared in five title matches this season with silver medal finishes in Norway and Japan.
Also clinching their spots this past weekend at the United States Grand Slam event in Long Beach for the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals were Brazilians Evandro Goncalves/Pedro Solberg Salgado and Canadians Heather Bansley/Sarah Pavan as both pairs occupy the second spot in the rankings behind the 2015 FIVB world champions.
With the men’s SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals rankings featuring a tie for the eighth position, pairs from Austria, Canada, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the United States are currently in position to qualify for the event. Other top women’s teams occupy the “provisional” top eight spots are from Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain.
Here are the rankings with a maximum of two teams per country: Men’s ranking: team, country, points
1, Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt, Brazil, 4,920
2, Evandro Goncalves/Pedro Solberg, Brazil, 4,360
3, Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen, Netherlands, 4,300
4, Reinder Nummerdor/Christiaan Varenhorst, Netherlands, 3,980
5, Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst, Austria, 3,760
6, Adrian Gavira/Pablo Herrera, Spain, 3,700
7, Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson, United States, 3,360
CQ, Emanuel Rego/Ricardo Santos, Brazil, 3,260
8, Ben Saxton/Chaim Schalk, Canada, 3,200
8, Grzegorz Fijalek/Mariusz Prudel, Poland, 3,200
10, Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai, Italy, 3,160
11, Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Konstantin Semenov, Russia, 3,120
12, Josh Binstock/Sam Schachter, Canada, 3,060
13, Theo Brunner/Nick Lucena, United States, 2,920
CQ, Tri Bourne/John Hyden, United States, 2,880
14, Jonathan Erdmann/Kay Matysik, Germany, 2,620
15, Alexander Walkenhorst/Stefan Windscheif, Germany, 2,320
16, Lombardo Ontiveros/Juan Virgen, Mexico, 2,260 Women’s ranking: team, country, points
1, Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas, Brazil, 5,420
2, Heather Bansley/Sarah Pavan, Canada, 4,710
3, Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca, Brazil, 4,540
CQ, Maria Antonelli/Juliana Felisberta, Brazil, 4,120
4, Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy, Australia, 4,020
5, Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst, Germany, 3,840
6, Jamie Broder/Kristina Valjas, Canada, 3,640
7, Madelein Meppelink/Marleen Van Iersel, Netherlands, 3,470
8, Elsa Baquerizo/Liliana Fernandez, Spain, 3,420
9, Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude, Germany, 3,310
CQ, Karla Borger/Britta Buthe, Germany, 3,180
10, Fan Wang/Yuan Yue, China, 3,110
CQ, Fernanda Alves/Taiana Lima, Brazil, 3,060
CQ, Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler, Germany, 3,060
11, Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat, United States, 3,040
12, Marta Menegatti/Viktoria Orsi Toth, Italy, 3,020
13, Monika Brzostek/Kinga Kolosinska, Poland, 2,740
14, Emily Day/Jennifer Kessy, United States, 2,600
15, Joana Heidrich/Nadine Zumkehr, Switzerland, 2,580
16, Natalia Dubovcova/Dominika Nestarcova, Slovak Republic, 2,440
*CQ is short for Country Quota. A maximum of two teams per country can qualify for the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Finals.