Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, October 7-12 2003
The Beach Volleyball World Championship on the Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Need one say more?
Having being "the home" of the Beach Volleyball World Championship since 1987 the sun-baked sands of the gorgeous Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro welcomes back it's flagship tournament in October for what will be a truly remarkable event.
It is testament to the depth and strength of Brazilian Beach Volleyball that the South American country hosted the "World Championships" every year between 1987 and 1995 before a new-look
biennial World Championship moved off shore to Los Angeles in 1997, France in 1999 and Austria in 2001. Now the return to Rio will be something special. To play on Copacabana after 16 years is a real coup that even required special permission from the city authorities who normally do not permit public events on the world's most famous beach. Instead, recognizing that Brazil not only produces many of the world's top players and the sport enjoys a deeply passionate following in their country, they will allow championship organizers to turn Copacabana into a Festival of Beach Volleyball.
With it's fantastic party atmosphere Brazil is traditionally the final stop on the annual SWATCH FIVB World Tour with Fortaleze hosting the men's tour and the women's circuit having been played in Salvador and for the past three seasons Vitoria but this year's Rio event doubles as a double-gender World Championship and a SWATCH FIVB World Tour leg event worth US$400,000 in prize money.
The Brazilian teams unsurprisingly live up to their supporters' expectations with consistently strong performances in front of a passionate and exuberant home crowd. Last year on the SWATCH FIVB World Tour was no exception with the home teams, once again illustrated their power and prowess filling five of the top six places in the men's draw including the winners Marcio Araujo-Benjamin and four of the top seven spots in the women's event.
The World Championship has come a long way as the event and the championship title has gathered prestige and importance, evolving into a global sporting extravaganza. It is therefore fitting that in 2003 the most important event on the calendar returns to its roots.
If it's October 2003, the place to be will be Rio de Janeiro and Copacabana Beach for the return of the World Championship to its spiritual home.
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