Rome, Italy, June 18, 2011—Emerging from the battle of Rome are four beach volleyball gladiators from Brazil, preparing to make history as they take center stage for the final time Sunday in the gold medal match as the biannual $1 million FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Championships powered by smart concludes. The world’s top two-person teams have been competing in the eighth FIVB Swatch World Championships under the current format. The majestic event, held at the unique and historically colorful Foro Italico venue is being held for the first time in Rome.
With competition being held in both genders in Rome, the medal matches will start at 4:30 p.m. Sunday with the two bronze medal matches first followed by the gold medal matches and the pageantry of the awards ceremonies for each gender after their respective finals. As marble statues of Roman heroes stood sentry around the venue, sunny Roman skies bathed the Foro Italico again Saturday as 96 two-person teams representing 31 countries started the competition Monday on five purpose-built courts within the sprawling complex that includes the featured center court within the newly constructed 10,000-seat Rome tennis stadium.
In Sunday’s medal matches, the gold medal challenge will be between Brazilians Alison Cerutti/Emanuel Rego will meet compatriots Marcio Araujo/Ricardo Santos. It will be preceded by the bronze medal battle featuring Germany’s fifth-seeded Julius Brink/Jonas Reckermann against Latvia’s 15th-seeded Martins Plavins/Janis Medins.
Sunday’s gold medal match will mark a record 61st time that the men’s final on the FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour has featured two teams from Brazil.
Of the $1 million purse, the gold medal teams in each gender will split $60,000, the silver medal teams $45,000, the bronze medal teams $35,000 and the fourth place finishers will split $28,000 in prize money.
In the first semifinal, Brazil’s third seeded Marcio Araujo/Ricardo defeated Latvia’s 15th-seeded Martins Plavins/Janis Smedins, 22-20, 21-16 in 40 minutes.
In the evening’s last semifinal, played before another large, enthusiastic crowd of several thousand, Brazil’s second-seeded Alison Cerutti/Emanuel Rego defeated Germany’s fourth-seeded Julius Brink/Jonas Reckermann, 21-15, 21-15 in 36 minutes.
With a solid team effort, Marcio Araujo was credited with 19 kills and nine digs while Ricardo recorded six kills, three digs, two blocks and one ace. In a losing effort, Plavins had 15 kills and six digs while teammate Smedins had nine kills, three digs and three blocks.
“To be in the gold medal match, I’m very happy,” Marcio Araujo. “God has blessed us, it’s amazing. I’m always happy to reach a final. It is the first final with Ricardo this year on the tour and it is very important for us to have gotten to the final because we earn Olympic qualification points. The Latvians played good. They beat us in China, so we had to put extra pressure on them in this tournament because we knew it was very important for us. All the games have been tough matches. At the beginning we were a little bit slow and then we came back and started building and building. This shows how strong we are as a team and this week we have gotten better and better and better.”
Marcio Araujo/Ricardo will each be seeking their second world championship title, but first as a team. Marcio Araujo won his world championship in 2005 in Berlin with Fabio Magalhaes while Ricardo topped the podium at the 2003 worlds in Rio de Janeiro with Emanuel Rego. On the all-time FIVB gold medal list, Ricardo ranks second to Emanuel with 50 international crowns, including 49 FIVB Swatch World tour titles. Marcio Araujo has 19 international titles with 18 coming on the FIVB Swatch World Tour. With a 6-1 record in their first world championships together, Marcio Araujo and Ricardo have now compiled a 64-15 (81.0%) match mark for 14 world tour events. The semi-final match also featured the experience of the Brazilians (a combined 73 years in age, 32 FIVB seasons, 308 FIVB tournaments) and the rising Latvians (49 years, 18 seasons, 104 tournaments).
Winners of the last two FIVB Swatch World Tour stops in Prague and Beijing, in their semifinal Saturday, Alison 8 kills, one dig, a game-high 8 blocks and two aces while teammate Emanuel had 16 kills, 11 digs and one ace. Brink had four kills for his team and four digs while Reckermann had 11 kills, two blocks and one ace. Alison/Emanuel have now taken a 4-3 lead in the head-to-head matchup against Brink/Reckermann on the FIVB Swatch World Tour.
“In eight world championships, this is the first all-Brazilian final and it will be very difficult to play them,” reflected Emanuel after their semifinal win. “In this match I stayed very concentrated and it was tough to play against the Germans. We stayed firm and strong mentally. What we must do now is to rest and get ready for tomorrow. In addition, I have to say that the audience was very warm following and supporting us over the entire week.”
In a rematch of last week’s finale in Beijing, Alison and Emanuel stopped Brink and Reckermann’s bid for a second-straight world championship. Alison/Emanuel will be playing in their seventh FIVB title match since forming their partnership in 2010. Emanuel will be seeking his 73rd FIVB gold medal, including 72 on the world tour. Alison enters the Rome title match Sunday with five FIVB Swatch World Tour career gold medals. Emanuel is the all-time FIVB leader in tournaments played (209), matches played (1,273) and match wins (1,027).
“They are the reigning champions and they had the greater pressure on them. We didn’t have that pressure," said Emanuel afterwards in the media mixed zone. But I’m very happy with the way we played and the way we worked together.
“You know many surprises can happen at this type of event because we play one match a day and all teams had a lot of time to be ready for the next match. We saw the Latvians play really well and other teams that usually don’t get near the final. But this is the world championships and there is a lot of pressure on the teams. Some teams should win, but sometimes this doesn’t happen."
The losing teams from Saturday’s men’s quarterfinals finish fifth in the event and each team will split $18,000 in prize money.
In the first quarterfinal of the day, Latvia’s Plavins/Smedins eliminated Denmark’s 23rd-seeded Anders Lund Hoyer/Bo Soderberg, 21-19, 21-17 in 40 minutes on the Foro Italico center court while Marcio Araujo/Ricardo advanced to the final four with their quarterfinal win over Spain’s ninth-seeded Adrian Gavira Collado/Pablo Herrera.
In the third quarterfinal of the day, Germany’s Brink/Reckermann stopped Poland’s 30th-seeded Grzegorz Fijalek/Mariusz Prudel, 21-15, 21-16 in 41 minutes and in the final quarterfinal, another 41 minute match saw Brazil’s Alison/Emanuel eliminate Brazil’s 12th-seeded Rhooney Ferramenta/Pedro Salgado, 22-20 and 21-16.
The internationally-televised eighth FIVB Swatch World Championships started with 48 teams in each gender, from 31 countries, competing on five purpose-built sand courts at the historic Parco del Foro Italico in the heart of the eternal city. 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 pool alignments. The top two teams from each pool along with the best eight third place teams advanced to the single-elimination phase of the tournament.
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 Rome 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 presented by smart is available both www.fivb.org and at www.beachvolleyroma.com.
For more information contact:
FIVB Press Department Director
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