Lausanne, Switzerland, August 6, 2007 - After staging SWATCH-FIVB World Tour events in Stavanger since 1999, Norway will host its second international tournament this season when Kristiansand entertains the planet’s best Beach Volleyball player for the inaugural US$350,000 Otera Open.
The Otera Open will “officially” start Tuesday (August 7) and concludes Saturday (August 11) for women and Sunday (August 12) for men with the winning teams in each gender sharing the $30,000 first-place prizes. The 13th SWATCH-FIVB World Tour stop in 2007 for both men and women, the Otera Open will be played at Tresse in the city centre of Kristiansand.
Norway's fifth largest city, Kristiansand is located on the country's southern coast and is known by the nickname "the Summer City." A resort town that draws visitors from across Norway and around the world, Kristiansand boasts Norway's largest ferry port, linking the country to Denmark on mainland Europe.
A total of 71 men’s and 65 women’s teams from 36 countries have entered the Otera Open, including Angola, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Cuba, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine and Venezuela.
The 10th of 13 double gender events on the 2007 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour calendar, the Otera Open is also part of the qualifying process for the Beijing 2008 Olympics. With the qualifying concluding July 20, 2008 to determine the 24 teams per gender for the Summer Games, a team’s best eight finishes on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour or sanctioned continental championships will count during the process.
With the Otera Open being the 10th men’s stop in Norway, Brazil will be seeking to maintain its “perfect” record of winning each stop. Reigning Olympic champions Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos have been the most successful team in the European country by winning four-straight Stavanger gold medals (2003-2006).
Despite winning four SWATCH events this season and 28 FIVB titles since forming their partnership at the end of the 2002 season, Emanuel and Ricardo also posted their lowest international Beach Volleyball finish in Stavanger. At June’s grand slam stop in the southwestern Norwegian port city with a 25th after being upset twice in pool play to force their earliest exit ever.
Emanuel and Ricardo enter the Otera Open after capturing a gold medal this past weekend in Austria in the fifth and final “major” event on the 2007 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour. It was the Brazilians second grand slam title after winning the season’s first “major” event in Paris. Emanuel and Ricardo also won SWATCH crowns in Portugal and Canada this year along with a Pan Americans Games gold medal in Rio de Janeiro.
Marcio Araujo and Fabio Magalhaes, who have finished second the past two seasons behind Emanuel and Ricardo on the SWATCH leader board for points, protected Brazil’s string of Stavanger success this past June by defeating Reinder Nummerdor and Richard Schuil of Netherlands for the gold medal.
Two former Stavanger women’s winners will be in this week’s field, including two-time defending SWATCH tour leader Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca of Brazil and Greece’s Vassiliki Arvaniti and Vasso Karadassiou. The Greeks upset Juliana and Larissa for the 2005 Stavanger gold medal before the Brazilians rebounded in 2006 by defeating compatriots Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede in the finals.
Following this week’s Otera Open, the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour remains in Europe for three more events. An inaugural double gender event will be played on the Finnish isle of Aland next week. The international tour will break for a week before staging its final double gender stop in Europe at St. Petersburg followed by a men’s only stop in Mazury region of Poland.