Stavanger, Norway, June 27, 2011—In the shadow of four of the world’s largest cruise ships sitting gracefully in the magnificently picturesque Vaagen Harbour, the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour resumed after a one-week break Monday in Norway with two teams from Germany and one each from Brazil and the United States advancing from country quota matches to Tuesday’s women’s qualification tournament at the $600,000 FIVB Swatch ConocoPhillips Grand Slam Stavanger 2011. The world’s top beach volleyball tandems return to Norway as the double-gender event marks the 13th consecutive visit by the world tour with Stavanger hosting its first men’s event in 1999 and its first women’s event in 2002.
Germany’s two tandems advancing to Tuesday’s women’s qualification tournament are Jana Kohler/Julia Sude and Karla Borger/Britta Buthe. Advancing for Brazil is the duo of Vivian Cunha/Taina Lima while playing on Tuesday from the USA will be Brittany Hochevar/Lisa Rutledge.
The women’s single-elimination qualification tournament will determine the final eight spots in the 32-team main draw that will start on Wednesday with two days of round-robin pool play.
The third of seven “major” tournaments on the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour schedule, the FIVB Swatch ConocoPhillips Grand Slam Stavanger 2011 begins with women’s country quota matches on Monday, single elimination qualification tournament on Tuesday to determine the final eight spots in the 32-team main draw on Wednesday through Friday. The women’s semifinals and medal matches will be played Saturday with the men’s “final four” matches Sunday as the winning pairs in each gender share the $43,500 first-place prizes. The men’s schedule mirrors the women, starting one day later with country quota matches on Tuesday.
Germany’s Kohler/Sude eliminated compatriots Stefanie Huttermann/Annie Schumacher, 22-24, 21-14 and 15-11 in 52 minutes while the other all-German country quota match results with Borger/Buthe defeating Geeske Banck, 21-16, 24-22 in 37 minutes.
Brazil’s tandem moving forward, Cunha/Lima, defeated Liliane Maestrini/Angela Vieira, 21-17, 18-21 and 15-9 in 58 minutes as Brazil had three teams in the country quota playoffs with Maestrini/Vieira winning their first playoff over Priscilla Lese Lima/Renata Ribeiro, 21-19, 21-18 in 36 minutes before being eliminated by Cunha/Lima.
In the all-American match, Brittany Hochevar/Lisa Rutledge defeated Angie Akers/Nicole Branagh, 21-19 and 21-15 in a 34-minute match.
The talented field includes the entire final four finishers from both genders from last yearas well as the last five women’s gold medalists in Stavanger and the last three men’s gold medal winners at the extremely popular event and venue.
In last year’s women’s competition, Brazil’s Juliana Felisberta Silva/Larissa Franca won gold, with silver going to their Brazilian compatriots Maria Antonelli/Talita Antunes, the bronze to USA’s Nicole Branagh/Misty May-Treanor and fourth place to Czech Republic’s Lenka Hajeckova/Hana Klapalova.
Last year’s men’s final four finishers in Stavanger were Germany’s David Klemperer/Eric Koreng (gold), Norway’s Tarjei Skarlund/Martin Spinnangr (silver), USA’s Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers (bronze) and Spain’s Adrian Gavira/Pablo Herrera (fourth place).
A total of 170 teams from 41 countries (94 men’s teams from 34 countries and 76 women’s teams from 30 countries) have entered the FIVB Swatch ConocoPhillips Grand Slam Stavanger 2011 including Angola (1 men, 0 women) Australia (2,2), Austria (4,3), Belarus (1,0), Belgium (2,1), Brazil (8,6), Bulgaria (0,1), Canada (3,3), China (2,3), Czech Republic (2,3), Denmark (1,0), Estonia (1,0), Finland (0,1), France (2,3), Georgia (1,1), Germany (6,8), Great Britain (1,2), Greece (2,2), Italy (3,2), Japan (2,2), Kazakhstan (2,1), Latvia (2,1), Mexico (0,1), Netherlands (5,4), New Zealand (1,0), Norway (12,7), Poland (2,2), Portugal (2,0), Puerto Rico (0,1), Russia (4,3), Slovak Republic (0,1), Slovenia (0,1), Spain (2,2), Sweden (2,0), Switzerland (4,3), Turkey (1,0), Ukraine (1,0), United States (5,5), Uruguay (1,0), Vanuatu (0,1), and Venezuela (4,0).
The 2011 calendar features 15 women's and 14 men's events, including 12 double-gender tournaments, 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 ConocoPhillips Grand Slam Stavanger 2011, the 2011 FIVB Swatch World Tour continues with two more Grand Slam double-gender events: 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 $600,000.
The FIVB Swatch ConocoPhillips Grand Slam Stavanger 2011 will be the 224th women’s event and 263rd men’s event on the FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour (open, grand slam, Olympic and Goodwill). The first men’s FIVB Swatch World Tour event was played February 17-22, 1987 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and the first women’s event was played August 14-16, 1992 at Almeria, Spain.
For more information on the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour, please visit www.fivb.org.