Mazatlan, Mexico, June 18, 2012 – The NORCECA Women’s Beach Volleyball Continental Cup Finals are set to begin on Thursday in Mazatlan, Mexico on the shores of the Pacific Ocean.
Women's teams warm up during training sessions in Mazatlan prior to the start of the competition at the NORCECA Beach Volleyball Continental Cup on Thursday
The eight-team competition (two pairs per country) will be played in a temporary facility with a seating capacity of 2,500 spectators built at the heart of the city.
After a long and exciting process of preliminary rounds which saw the participation of most of the confederation’s affiliated national federations, the event reaches its pinnacle with the winners sealing a spot for their country to the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Argentina and Mauritius, from South America and Africa, respectively, were the first two countries to book their tickets to the Olympics as Continental Cup winners. The European and Asian events will take place in Moscow, Russia (June 22-24) and Fuzhou, China (June 20-24).
Countries whose teams finish second and third in Mazatlan still will have a final chance to reach London during the FIVB World Cup Olympic Qualification Tournament in Moscow from June 27 to July 1.
Hosts Mexico, represented by the local heroines Mayra Garcia/Bibiana Candelas and Vanessa Virgen/Martha Revuelta, will start their campaign against Nicaragua in a best-of-five series of matches on Thursday morning. In case of an eventual tie a golden set will be played.
The other quarterfinals feature Puerto Rico against Costa Rica, Canada challenging El Salvador and Cuba entertaining Guatemala.
The double-elimination tournament will permit the losers to continue playing for the third place in a best-of-three series.
Cuba claimed first place in the Central Zone of NORCECA by outlasting Canada in a golden-set last year in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, where Mexico defeated Puerto Rico for third spot.
Costa Rica blanked El Salvador for the first spot, while Guatemala won a golden set against Nicaragua for third place when teams representing Central America played against those from the Caribbean Zone last February at Malpais, Costa Rica.
Canada-A: Heather Bansley/Elizabeth Maloney
Canada-B: Annie Martin/ Marie Andree Lessard
Costa Rica-A: Ingrid Morales/Natalia Alfaro
Costa Rica-B: Katherine Quesada/Eugenia Ramírez
Cuba-A: Kirenia Ballard/Onayamis Sinal
Cuba-B: Niriam Sinal/ Ion Canet/
El Salvador-A: Diana Romero/Marcela Ávalos
El Salvador-B: Kathya Vásquez/María Vargas
Guatemala-A: Ingrid López/Lourdes Ramírez
Guatemala-B: Nadia Galán/Ana Villagrán
México-A: Mayra García/Bibiana Candelas
México-B: Vanessa Virgen/Martha Revuelta
Nicaragua-A: Amalia Hernández/Lolette Rodríguez
Nicaragua-B: Elia Torres/Swan Mendoza
Puerto Rico-A: Yarleen Santiago/Yamileska Yantin
Puerto Rico-B: Dariam Avecedo/Tatiana Encarnación.