Halifax, Nova Scotia, August 31, 2012 – After completing the last of three pool play matches as well as the first round of men’s single-elimination bracket play, 16 teams remain standing at Halifax Harbor in their quest for the men’s gold medal at the 2012 FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH Junior World Championships for players under the age of 21.
This year’s 12th annual double-gender event started Wednesday in Halifax, a regional municipality of over 300,000 residents located in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia on the east coast of Canada.
Led by three teams from host-country Canada, 16 teams from 13 countries are still standing in the tournament after men’s pool play and the first round of single-elimination play. Joining the three Canadian teams, two from the United States are one team each from Austria, Brazil, Czech Republic, Germany, Latvia, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Russia, Switzerland and Venezuela.
The world championship event is being held through Sunday at the purpose-built beach volleyball complex on the Salter Lot of the Halifax Waterfront. This is the not only the second time in the event’s 12-year history that it is being held in North America, but also the second straight year in Halifax.
The teams were divided into eight four-team pools for round-robin play of three matches per team. The women began with two rounds on Wednesday and one on Thursday, while the men had two rounds on Thursday and one on Friday.
The top three teams in each pool (24 total) advanced to the single-elimination bracket phase of the tournament. The women began their single elimination phase with two rounds on Friday followed by the women’s quarterfinals and semifinals on Saturday. Men will play their first elimination round on Friday, followed by the second round and quarterfinals on Saturday and the semifinals on Sunday morning.
The bronze and gold medal matches for each gender will be held on Sunday afternoon at the SEA stadium center court.
As the host nation, Canada has three men’s teams and four women’s teams qualified into their respective fields and the three Canadian men’s teams finished pool play in these championships in brilliant fashion by winning their respective pools with a superlative combined record of 8-0.
Last year’s final four finisher, Canada’s Garrett May, and new teammate Dallas Keith, the sixth-seeded team in Halifax and 26th-seeded Aaron Nusbaum/Grant O’Gorman, who won the bronze medal at the 2011 FIVB SWATCH Youth World Championships in Umag, Croatia, were 3-0 to win their pools while the other Canadian’s men’s team in the field, top-seeded Ben Chow/Nick Del Bianco, finished ninth in Halifax last year won their pool with a 2-0 mark.
May, playing for the fourth time in the FIVB SWATCH Junior World Championships, said after he and Keith soundly defeated teams from Guatemala and Thailand on Thursday and then outlasted a Venezuelan team in three sets Friday, “Wow, that match against Venezuela was too close for comfort. We played good but Venezuela duked it out with us really well and we’re tired. I would say we earned the afternoon off and we don’t have to play again until Saturday’s round of 16. Our Canadian men’s teams have done very well, we’re kind of like the TV commercial..we just keep going, going and going.”
Winning their pools with 3-0 records, earning byes to advance directly to the Saturday’s round of 16 are Canada’s sixth-seeded Dallas Keith/Garrett May, Germany’s eighth-seeded Fabian Schmidt/Dominik Stork and Canada’s 26th-seeded Aaron Nusbaum/Grant O’Gorman.
Because the field is 27 teams instead of 32 as a result of travel and visa issues with several countries, the teams winning their pools with 2-0 records were Canada’s Chow/Del Bianco, Brazil’s second-seeded brothers Gustavo and Marcus Carvalhaes, USA’s 19th-seeded Weston Carico/Parker Kalmbach, Russia’s fourth-seeded Andrey Bolgov/Artem Kucherenko and Switzerland’s fifth-seeded Mirco Gerson/Gabriel Kissling.
SWEET 16 PAIRINGS
In Saturday morning’s first half of the round of 16 match ups, Germany’s Schmidt/Stork will play Norway’s 12th-seeded Runar Sannarnes/Andreas Takvan; Canada’s Chow/Del Bianco will meet Meixoc’s 18th-seeded Ricardo Galindo/Juan Revuelta; Switzerland’s Gerson/Kissling will challenge Venezuela’s 11th-seeded Jose Ruiz/Maikhol Salcedo and USA’s Carico/Kalmbach vs. Czech Republic’s 13th-seeded Ondrej Benes/Ondrej Perusic.
In the second half of the round of 16 matches, Russia’s Bolgov/Kucherenko will face Latvia’s seventh-seeded Abolins Armands/Haralds Regza; Canada’s Keith/May will battle USA’s 19th-seeded Weston Carico/Parker Kalmbach; Canada’s Nusbaum/O’Gorman will play against Poland’s third-seeded Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak; and Brazil’s GustavoCarvalhaes/Marcus Carvalhaes will face off against Austria’s 10th-seeded Cristoph Dressler/Lorenz Petutsching.
The winners in the round of 16 will advance to the men’s quarterfinals later on Saturday afternoon to determine the final four and the Sunday morning’s semifinal matches.
BACK IN HALIFAX
Among the men’s teams are several returning players who competed in last year’s FIVB SWATCH Junior World Championships in Halifax, including Canada’s May who with then teammate Sam Schachter won the gold medal in 2010 in Alanya, Turkey and finished fourth last year in Halifax with Dany Demyanenko.
The top returning men’s team from last year championship in Halifax is Poland’s silver medalists Kantor/Losiak, who also won the gold medal at the 2010 FIVB SWATCH Youth World Championship in Porto, Portugal.
Besides Canada’s May and Poland’s Kantor/Losiak, another top individual in the men’s field is Brazil’s Carvalhaes, who won the bronze medal in Halifax last year with Vitor Felipe and is playing this year with his brother Gustavo.
FROM HALIFAX TO...
The gold medal team in each gender in Halifax will also be rewarded by the FIVB and the organizers with wild cards and free transportation and an automatic main draw berth in a FIVB SWATCH World Tour event in 2012 or 2013. A total of 2,000 tons of special sand was transported to the SEA stadium complex to build the four competition and two practice courts for the venue, which includes the 3,000-seat featured SEA stadium center court.
MORE INFO, PLEASE
A total of 2,000 tons of special sand has been transported to the Salter Sand complex to build the four competition and two practice courts for the venue, which includes the 3,000-seat stadium center court. Single day tickets for the event are on sale through the event website at www.sandjamhalifax.ca. Event information is available at 902.444.3773. Children, five and under, are free for the entire event when accompanied by a ticketed adult.
Countries represented in Halifax at the 12th anniversary of this event are Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Germany, Guatemala, Israel, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Mexico, Norway, Peru, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, United States and Venezuela.
Produced by Canada’s Sports and Entertainment Atlantic (SEA) in association with Volleyball Canada and the Lausanne, Switzerland-based Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB), more information is available at www.fivb.org with live streaming from center court available at www.sandjamhalifax.ca.
Also on-site in Halifax has been an IMG production crew who are developing special segments from both the men’s women’s competition to air in the near future as special segments on the highly-acclaimed, internationally-syndicated weekly FIVB SWATCH World Tour highlight shows.
A founding province of Canada, Nova Scotia is nearly surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, and is known for its high tides, lobster, fish, blueberries and apples. Halifax was the site of the first British town in Canada, founded in 1749. Since then, the area has evolved to be home for charming fishing villages, farming communities and Atlantic Canada's largest city. Halifax, the gateway to Atlantic Canada, has flourished as a prominent port city. Halifax was founded in 1749 by Governor Edward Cornwallis and 2,500 settlers to act as a naval and army base to protect the area, creating Canada’s first permanent British town on the world’s second-largest natural harbor. The peninsula, which Halifax is located on, is 4.5 miles wide and two miles long.
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