Olsztyn, Poland, August 24, 2015 – Men’s world champions Alison Cerutti and Bruno Schmidt and their female counterparts Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas will again start as number one seeds when Olsztyn makes its debut at an FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour venue.
Meanwhile with less than a year to the start of the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games and qualification points on offer, the tournament will focus the minds of the teams with ambitions of competing on Copacabana Beach.
The Brazilian pairs topped the podium at the Netherlands 2015, FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships and since then have continued to enjoy success on the World Tour that has allowed them to stay top of the FIVB World Rankings.
Most recently Alison and Bruno won the Long Beach Grand Slam in Los Angeles. It was their third title win in three World Tour tournaments since they were crowned world champions and follows success at the Gstaad World Series event and Yokohama Grand Slam.
Agatha and Barbara meanwhile are seeking a way back to the top of the podium. They have won the Prague Open and St Petersburg Grand Slam in 2015, but since claiming World Championship gold their best finish was second in Yokohama.
They will be pushed hard by compatriots Larissa Franca and Talita Antunes, who despite missing out on the medals at the World Championships, have won five World Tour tournaments in 2015, including the Long Beach Grand Slam.
Also back in the mix are triple Olympic champion Kerri Walsh and April Ross, silver medallist from 2012. The pair have endured a mixed season after Walsh missed a number of tournaments with a shoulder injury. However, they served notice that they are nearing their best by finishing second as they returned to action in Long Beach.
Olsztyn in north-east Poland will host a World Tour event for the first time following 11 years and one World Championships at Stare Jablonki.
Long-time Polish number ones Mariusz Prudel and Grzegorz Fijalek will lead the way for the host country and win only their second World Tour medal at a home tournament to add to the bronze medals that they won in Stavanger earlier in 2015.
Following the completion of the Olsztyn Grand Slam, the tour moves on to the Rio de Janeiro Open that will run from September 1-6 on Copacabana Beach and which serves as a test event for Rio 2016.
Then at the end of September the Swatch Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals take place in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA from September 29 - October 4, which features the top eight men’s and women’s teams in the rankings along with two wildcard teams.