|Porto Santo, Portugal, September 12, 2004 - The fourth edition of the FIVB's U-21 World Championships for players under 21 years old starts here Tuesday for the women with 13 teams scheduled to compete in the Qualification Tournament to determine the last four entries into the Main Draw.
The mixed gender event runs through Saturday for the women while the men's Qualification Tournament is Wednesday followed by four days of Main Draw play that concludes Sunday with the semi-final and medal matches. The event follows the FIVB U-18 World Championships for men and women in Termoli, Italy
The featured team in the event on Praia do Penedo do Sono will be Brazilians Taiana Lima and Carolina Solberg Salgado. Lima has finished first and fifth in the last two FIVB U-21 World Championships with Juliana Felisberta Silva. Solberg Salgado, the 17-year old Brazilian beach whiz, arrives here after earning a silver medal at Sunday's FIVB U-18 women's finale in Termoli with Barbara Figueirado.
A fourth- and second-place finisher in the first-two U-18 FIVB events in Greece (2002) and Thailand (2003) and a bronze medallist in the U-21s with Maria Salgado Rufino last year in France, Solberg Salgado is the daughter of FIVB women's Beach Volleyball pioneer Isabel Salgado.
Carolina's older brother Pedro, a three-time FIVB junior Beach Volleyball medallist, will also be competing here this week in the men's competition. Pedro Solberg Salgado won the 2002 U-18 title with Ian Borges as the pair placed second last year to Germany's Sebastian Fuchs and Thomas Kaczmarek. Pedro Solberg Salgado teamed with Pedro Cunha to capture the 2003 U-21 title in France.
Teams from Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand Russia, Spain and Venezuela are scheduled to compete in the qualifier. Tuesday's qualifying schedule will be determined after a Monday night technical meeting when the teams are required to finalize their registration.
Twenty (20) tandems have already been placed in the women's Main Draw that begins Wednesday with round-robin play of six pools of four teams each. Like the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, the top two teams from each pool will advance to the single-elimination Round of 16 bracket along with the four-best third-place finishers.
Portugal has already placed three teams in the Main Draw, including Adelina Cabral/Fabiana Feritas da Silva, Mariana Couto/Juliana Moreira and Gabriela Matos/Diana Sousa. Other countries with tandems in the Main Draw are Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Mexico, MOZ, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Switzerland and the United States.
The first three FIVB U-21 World Championships were held in Le Lavandou, France (2001), Catania, Italy (2002) and Saint Quay Portrieux, France (2003). Brazil won the first two gold medals while Russia's Anna Morozova and Alexandra Shiryaeva captured the 2003 title. Overall, Brazil has won four U-21 women's medals with Russia two, and the Czech Republic, Germany and Switzerland one each.
The 20-year old Morozova will be competing in her fourth-straight FIVB U-21 women's World Championships after placing second in 2001 with Anna Bobrova, ninth in 2002 with Maria Bratkova and first last August in Saint Quay Portrieux with Shiryaeva. Morozova and Bratkova will play together this week.
Katrin Holtwick and Maria Kleefisch of Germany, who lost the 2003 final to the Russians, will have to qualify this year for the Main Draw. Switzerland's Tanya Schmocker, who placed fourth last year with Melanie Schoneberger, is in the Main Draw for this year's event with Sarah Schmocker.