Rome, Italy, June 13, 2011—Paced by twin wins by a pair of home country Italian men’s teams, round robin pool played began Monday at the $1 million FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Championships powered by smart. Featuring the world’s top 96 teams from 34 countries for both men and women two-person teams, the eighth event under the current format is being held for the first time in Rome through Sunday. The internationally-televised eighth FIVB Swatch World Championships feature 48 teams in each gender competing on five purpose-built sand courts at the historic Parco del Foro Italico.
With both genders competing on each of the seven-day championships, the event began with 12 pools of four teams in each playing the other three teams in their respective pools. The top two teams from each pool along with the best eight third place teams will advance to the 32-team single-elimination phase of the tournament. Pool play matches for each gender started Monday and will be held Tuesday and Wednesday for women and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for men followed by the 32-team single elimination rounds starting Thursday for women and Friday for men. The semifinals will be held on Saturday evening, June 18 with the medal matches set for Sunday evening, June 19.
Under the lights of the Foro Italico center court, 23-year old Italian twin brothers Matteo and Paolo Ingrosso, 13th-seeded as a host-country team, defeated 37th-seeded Russian’s Dmitri Barsouk/Alexey Yutvalin in two sets, 21-14 and 21-16 in 34 minutes.
Right before the Ingrosso brother’s match, 14th’seeded (home-country seed) Italians Matteo Martino/Paolo Nicolai knocked off 38th-seeded Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Ruslans Sorokins of Latvia in three sets, 21-17, 15-21 and 15-11 in 43 minutes.
With lingering fans celebrating a pair of home-country victories, Matteo Ingrosso commented following his win, “We are more than happy. We wanted to win this match and we did it. We beat a strong team and we didn’t feel any pressure, although we were playing at home. We were calm and played our usual game. For the time being, our objective is to do well and move on. So far I can’t say that much because this was just our first match so it’s too early to hazard a forecast.”
The biggest upset of the first day of pool play was an all-American match-up where 24th-seeded Casey Jennings/Kevin Wong defeated top-seeded Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers 22-20 and 21-12. Dalhausser is playing in the tournament with a sprained ankle that forced him and Rogers to withdraw from last week’s Beijing Grand Slam.
Commenting after his team’s big win, Martino said, “Nicolai’s performance was just great. It’s a good feeling to win a match, but we can get too fired up about it. Tomorrow we will start from the beginning again and try to beat a Swedish team, as we did today against Latvia. We can walk a long path together and our expectations are very high. Beach volleyball differs from volleyball, a sport I’m not missing at all. By playing at home, we receive a strong impetus and we want to show that we can do well, as well as take advantage of this big opportunity the Italian Federation is giving us.”
Among the other opening day winners were Germany’s fifth-seeded David Klemperer/Eric Koreng, USA’s seventh-seeded Nick Lucena/Matt Fuerbringer, Spain’s ninth-seeded Adrian Gavira Collado/Pablo Herrera and Brazil’s eighth-seededBenjamin Insfran/Bruno Oscar Schmidt.
Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2011 presenting international beach volleyball events, the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball, based in Lausanne, Switzerland returns for the third consecutive season to Rome and the FIVB Swatch World Tour has had at least one event in Italy since 1989 except for 1993, 1994 and 2002. The FIVB Swatch World Championships at the Parco del Foro Italico will mark the 17th time a men’s event has been held in Italy and the 10th time for the women. Built on the grounds of the Stadio Olympico from the 1960 Rome Olympics, the magnificent Parco del Foro Italico is a major international tennis and sports complex being converted for use as a beach volleyball complex for the FIVB Swatch World Championships. The venue, artistically designed and completed in stages between 1928 and 1938, will have five competition courts with the featured center court being in the 10,000-seat main tennis stadium at the Foro Italico.
The previous FIVB Swatch World Championships in the current format were held in Los Angeles (1997), Marseille, France (1999), Klagenfurt, Austria (2001), Rio de Janeiro (2003), Berlin (2005), Gstaad, Switzerland (2007) and Stavanger, Norway (2009). The first FIVB World Championships were held in Brazil in 1987, prior to the start of the current format that began in 1997.
The 2011 calendar features 15 women's and 14 men's events within all five FIVB confederations plus one special 24-team single-gender women’s test event held August 9-14 at London’s Horse Guards Parade, the venue for beach volleyball at the 2012 London Olympic Games. The 2011 FIVB Swatch World Tour is offering $7.64-million in prize money. Twelve of the tournaments are combined men's and women's events, including the World Championships and all six Grand Slam stops.
After the FIVB Swatch World Championships, the 2011 FIVB Swatch World Tour takes one week off before it continues with three consecutive Grand Slam double-gender events: June 27 to July 3 in Stavanger, Norway (ConocoPhillips Grand Slam Stavanger 2011), July 4-9 in Gstaad, Switzerland (1 to 1 Energy Grand Slam) and July 11-16 in Moscow (Moscow Grand Slam). The total prize money for each Grand Slam event is US$600,000. Also on the international calendar during this window and immediately following the FIVB Swatch World Championships will be the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Youth World Championships, for players under 19 years old, June 21-26 in Umag, Croatia.
The 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Championships media guide is now available online in the media section of each gender’s tournament page. More information on this year’s FIVB Swatch World Championships powered by smart is available both www.fivb.org and at www.beachvolleyroma.com.
For more information contact:
FIVB Press Department Director
+41 79 603 3926