Lausanne, Switzerland, February 3, 2011 – Sanya features on the FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour calendar for the fourth year in a row as the southern Chinese city welcomes back the women for a single-gender event from April 26-May 1.
The first of four stops scheduled to be held in China in 2011, Sanya moves up the calendar having staged the penultimate event in 2010. The tournament will mark the second stage on this year’s circuit following the double-gender opener in Brasilia, Brazil and will serve as a stop-gap for the following double-gender event in Shanghai.
Renowned for its tropical climate, Sanya is now a staple on the beach volleyball calendar. Home tandem Chen Xue and Xi Zhang were victorious there last year, becoming the first Chinese pair to win a gold medal on home soil since 2007. Many of the fans expected to flock to the tournament will be hoping for the same this year.
Xue and Zhang beat Germany’s Laura Ludwig and Sara Goller to the 2010 title, their 2-0 (22-20, 22-20) win capping off a memorable tournament in which they did not drop a single set. USA’s Jen Kessy and April Ross completed the podium with a tough win over Brazilian sisters Maria Clara and Carolina Salgado.
The 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour has a total of 14 men's and 16 women's events across 13 countries. A definite highlight of the calendar will be the eighth edition of the FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Championships from June 14-26 in Rome.
This 23rd edition of the FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour also heralds the start of the World Tour Olympic qualifying process for 16 vacancies per gender, which runs from January 1 this year until June 17 next year. There will be six Grand Slams for the third year in a row offering 600,000 US dollars in prize money – in Norway, Switzerland, Russia, Poland, Austria as well as the new Grand Slam in Beijing, China. Quebec in Canada will also feature on the calendar for the first time with a double gender Open event.
The 1million US dollar FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Championships includes a number of firsts for the biennial tournament – including being played in a capital city and featuring night matches – with the historic Parco del Foro Italico in Rome providing the venue. Meanwhile, the Chinese capital Beijing is back on the Tour calendar for the first time since the 2008 Olympic Games with a new Grand Slam event scheduled for June 6-12. Quebec will follow Montreal and Toronto as Canadian cities to host the World Tour, becoming the first since Montreal in 2007 when it stages a double-gender Open from July 18-24.
The 2011 schedule – which also includes an Olympic Games test event for women from August 9-14, replicating the Olympic formula, at London's Horse Guards Parade – will feature a total of 10 Opens of which six are double gender.