FIVB Beach Volelyball World Tour


Martin Laciga (SUI) - Laciga sees young teams going far in men's World Champs

Lausanne, Switzerland, July 5, 2013 - As we approach the single elimination phase of the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Stare Jablonki, Switzerland’s Martin Laciga tells why he believes there is a greater likelihood of the younger teams making a mark in the men's competition this year.

“At the World Championships this year we are seeing teams with varying levels of experience than ever before. While it is still difficult to say who will win, I believe that the younger teams will have more of an opportunity to make their mark in the men’s competition this year.

“Although Alison and Emanuel are in the running for the World Championship title, I am not sure about their consistency. They had a good run in Rome but had a few problems finding their rhythm early on in Stare Jablonki.  But they know how to play in the World Championships and they will only get stronger as the tournament goes on. They had three wins in their pools and this will give them the confidence.

“The Dutch pair Nummerdor and Schueil is stronger now compared to Rome and they have improved a lot. They are starting to get back their confidence but I do not know if this is enough to keep a high level game. They played a close match against the German team and although they won, it was evident that it took a lot of energy out of them. No doubt they are experienced players but they need more than just two or three competitions this season to take them far in the Championship this week.

“The younger teams, like Poland’s Kantor and Losiak on the other hand are more powerful and have more of a chance to reach the semifinals this year. I believe that the crowd will help Fijalek and Prudel to give their best performance. They always like to play on their home ground and this will give them an extra boost.

“Latvians Smedins and Somoilovs really fit together well and have managed to win two close games in the competition. As the leader of the pool it will get easier for them as they go along.  But I do wonder how long they can keep up the pace as they play an extremely physical game. They are aggressive with a high block and this takes a lot of energy.  It helps that they are playing only one or two games a day and it should  allow them to conserve their energy until the end of the Championship. 

“Last year’s finalists, Austrians Doppler-Horst, are also in with a chance judging from their performance to date.  I know from experience that it always good to come back to a place where you have played some of your best games. It gives you a lot of confidence and for me they are a team that could pull a surprise win out of the hat at these Championships.

“Spain’s Pablo Herrera and Adrian Gavira put in a particularly amazing performance in these World Championships as they have not been playing at their best lately on account of Pablo’s knee problems.  They have been in a tough pool with Pedro and Bruno and have managed to make an excellent come back.

“The results of the Mexican team of Virgen-Ontiveros have taken some by surprise.  These two players love to play the big events and are usually on fire when there are the big games to win.

“It’s going to be an interesting race to the finish line. And I can’t wait to see the final result.”

Martin Laciga is a recently retired beach volleyball player from Switzerland. Partnering with his older sibling Paul, the Laciga brother won the silver medal in the men's beach team competition at the 1999 Beach Volleyball World Championships in Marseille, France. He has represented Switzerland at the Olympic Games in Sydney, Athens where he placed fifth and Beijing where he finished ninth. He has also competed in seven FIVB World Championships (1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2011) and has won six international gold medals.


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Sandra Pires (BRA) - 'Experience, technique and solid team play - still viable in the long run'

Lausanne, Switzerland, July 4, 2013 – The much awaited Beach Volleyball World Championships are currently in progress and former Brazilian legend of the sport, Sandra Pires provides her views on the action so far.

“It has been a fantastic start to the World Championships and even the weather, which has been temperamental at times, has not dampened the tournament’s spirit and atmosphere. And the sporting action just gets better and better with some of the more unexpected pairings challenging the established hierarchy on the sands.

“Latvia’s Janis Smedins and Aleksandrs Samoliovs have really come into their own since the start of the season and they look set to top their pool in the competition. It could not have been easy for Smedins to play a match against his brother or Samoliovs to see his former partner on the other side of the net. But they kept their focus and cohesion, two qualities which have allowed them to blaze ahead of the competition this season even though they have only playing together since the beginning of this year.

“They have taken gold at the Corrientes Grand Slam, bronze at the World Cup and then silver at The Hague and Rome Grand Slams and I will not be surprised to see them on the podium in Mazury in a few days’ time.

“Another new pairing that has achieved a remarkably high level of success this year is Brazil’s Taiana de Souza Lima and Talita Antunes da Rocha. They will face some stiff competition in the elimination round of the World Championships from Germany’s Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst, but having won gold at the Shanghai, Hague and Rome Grand Slams I think they know what they need to do to pull another victory out of the hat.  They have superb technique and team play and they know how to keep their calm, motivate each other and work with the other’s strengths when it matters most.

“It is good to see that the more experienced pairs of the Championship are showing no signs of backing down in the face of increased competition. If anything, it seems to have steeled their resolve to continue winning and performing at the highest level possible.

“Brazil’s Alison Cerruti and Emmuel Rego are not giving the competition an easy time and are determined to defend their World Championship title. They have had a rough start to the season, missing out on the opening events of the year on account of Alison’s finger injury. But they have sent a clear signal that they can still cut a swath through the competition by taking gold in the World Cup Final. If they have taught the young generation of players anything it is that stamina and physical power is important, but experience, technique and solid team play are still viable in the long run.

“And other members of the old guard like USA’s Phil Dalhausser and Sean Rosenthal are also well placed to make it to the final stages of the competition. I do hope that Pedro Solberg and Bruno Schimdt will be able to add to their already impressive medal count from this season.

“It is difficult to identify a clear leader in these Championships. With so many quality teams on the sands this year our only assurance is that the competition will get more demanding as it does not appear to be stifling the talent of individual players but encouraging them to give their best. All players will be required to use their every reserve if they want to get to the podium. May the best team win.”

Sandra Pires is a three-time Olympian from Brazil. She won gold with Jackie Silva at the 1996 Games in Atlanta – the first year beach volleyball was introduced as a medal sport – bronze with Adriana Samuel in 2000 in Sydney and fifth place in Athens with Ana Paula Connelly. As a commentator for Globo Sport TV, Sandra has covered the London 2012 Games and the 2012 Brazilian national tour.


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Sara Goller (GER) - Goller backs Chen Xue and Zhang Xi for World Champs gold

Stare Jablonki, Poland, June 29, 2013 - Former FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour regular and double Olympian Sara Goller of Germany singles out the Chinese bronze medallists from two years ago Zhang Xi and Chen Xue as the ones to beat as she casts her eye over the women's field ahead of the the World Championships in Stare Jablonki, which start on Monday.

"It has been a very interesting season so far, as it always is after the Olympic Games. There's room for younger teams to make their way to the top; a bunch of players have ended their careers, some team combinations have changed, while some teams have taken a longer break after the Games. In the woman's competition I definitely see a lot of upcoming teams taking their chances and gaining good results.

"Brazilians Talita and Lima have definitely impressed me so far. You could tell beforehand that they are two incredibly talented and experienced players and while you would also have expected them to be successful, the way they have already played in their first few tournaments together is remarkable.

"The Brazilians in general have a good pool of athletes that have worked surprisingly well in their new teams. Maria Antonelli and Agatha Bednarczuk are another team to watch out for, as are Maria Clara and Carol Salgado, who has impressed after taking a break to have a baby.

"From the Europeans I have to name Madelein Meppelink and Sophie Van Gestel of The Netherlands. I saw them improving a lot last season and I was expecting them to do well this year, but they have massively exceeded my expectations.

"I'm not sure why the Chinese pairing Chen Xue and Zhang Xi didn't play the last couple of events, but if they are fit and healthy they are my number one pick for the women. Talita and Lima would be also in the pot as favourites to win for me.

"The Germans, especially the girls, have done very well this season.  Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler have enjoyed a consistent season and are definitely on my teams-to-watch-list for Poland. My former partner, little Laura (Ludwig), has found a great substitute with Kira Walkenhorst. They still are a little inconsistent and need some time but they are definitely one the teams to keep an eye on in the future and if they do play to their potential in Poland, a medal is not unrealistic.

"Karla Borger and Britta Buthe have also improved a lot, as their fourth place finish in Rome showed. They have a full time coach now and you can tell that this was a good decision.

"We always have a lot of incredibly talented boys and girls at age-group level and I would say we have the best pool of juniors together with Brazil. Victoria Bieneck and Isabell Schneider are one example with their gold medal at the FIVB U23 World Championships but there are many more. The big task will be to complete the step from junior to senior level and play successfully on the World Tour as the next generation after 2016.

"I haven’t had too much time to miss playing since retiring after the London 2012 Olympic Games, but I am still close to the sport through my new job with Sky Deutschland. Jonas Reckermann and I are part of the team that covers the German Tour. They are doing a great job in promoting our wonderful sport and I am proud to be part of that team.

"I will be keeping an eye on events in Stare Jablonki and would like to use this opportunity to wish all the teams the very best of luck."

Sara Goller is a former beach volleyball player from Germany who retired from the sport following her participation in the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Together with long-time partner Laura Ludwig, Goller also won the silver medal at the Rome Grand Slam in 2012. Goller also won silver at the Espinho Open, bronze at the Klagenfurt Grand Slam and silver at the European Championships. In 2008 she won the European Championships and finished ninth at the Olympics. In 2009 she finished on the podium three times before increasing that total to five in 2010, a year in which she won her second European Championship.


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Sinjin Smith (USA) - 'There's a lot of excitment this season'

Lausanne, Switzerland, June 28, 2013 – On the eve of the ninth FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships (in its current format), beach volleyball legend Sinjin Smith sat down with to shares his thoughts ahead of events in Poland.

“The FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships are much like the Olympics in that the more experienced players with a history of success know what it takes to prepare for them. They will hope to be able to dig deep into their experience at the right time to bring home victory.”

“We know who the experienced teams are and we will expect great things from them; teams such as Brazil’s Emanuel Rego and Alison Cerutti and USA’s Phil Dalhausser and Sean Rosenthal.”

“That said as we get close to crowning the 2013 Men's World Champions, it does strike me that the sport is undergoing a changing of the guard.”

“We have new young teams with less experience but youth, desire and something to prove. The young teams showed us they were on the move at the London 2012 Olympic Games and have carried that form on in this year’s FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour.”

“Italy’s Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo caught everyone’s attention when they ended Dalhausser and Todd Roger’s reign as Olympic champions, while Janis Smedins was one of three Latvian medallists at London 2012. He has brought that form with him into his new partnership with Aleksandrs Samoilovs and they already have one gold and two silvers to their names.”    

“New combinations are always scary especially when they show you they can win right away. Look out for USA’s Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson and Brazil’s Pedro Salgado and Bruno Oscar Schmidt as both teams have already enjoyed success this year and they will definitely be hungry for more.”

“Local favourites Grzegorz Fijalek and Mariusz Prudel will also be an interesting team to watch to see if home court advantage and the crowd behind them will make the difference or whether it put extra pressure on them and keep them from playing the way they can when at their best.”

“The reason why no one team will dominate this year is because the field of athletes is so strong that as many as 10 teams can win and many more can beat those winners. This makes for a very exciting year ahead of us and all eyes will be on the FIVB World Championships to see if youth beats experience.”

Sinjin Smith is a beach volleyball Olympian and world-champion, dominating men's beach volleyball from the late 1980s to the early 1990s with partner Randy Stokles, as the "kings of the beach." Smith is a member of the International Volleyball Hall of Fame (2003) and the California Beach Volleyball Hall of Fame (2002). He was instrumental in developing the World Tour in the beginning of FIVB beach volleyball and developing beach volleyball as an Olympic sport while serving as president of the FIVB World Council. Smith also was instrumental in developing Olympic programs and guidelines for organizers, as well as developing professional beach volleyball in the USA, including getting it aired on TV. Since retirement, Smith has worked to develop youth, collegiate, amateur and beach volleyball is the USA. He continues to serve on the FIVB Beach Volleyball Commission, to oversee the World Tour and Olympic Program. His efforts helped the World Tour return to the USA in 2013, with the Long Beach Grand Slam, to be held July 22-27, 2013. 



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