Halifax, Nova Scotia, August 31, 2011 – As the setting summer sun bathed the Halifax Harbor, men’s teams from Germany, Latvia, and Russia advanced from Wednesday’s qualification tournament to complete the 24-team man draw field for the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch Junior World Championships for players under the age of 21.
This year’s 11th annual double-gender event started Wednesday in Halifax, a regional municipality of over 300,000 residents located in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia on the east coast of Canada.
The world championship event is being held through Sunday at the purpose-built beach volleyball complex on the Salter Lot of the Halifax Waterfront. This is the first time in the event’s 11-year history that it is being held in North America.
Advancing to the men’s main draw following the single wins Wednesday are Germany’s Dominik Stork/Henry Glockner, Latvia’s Abolins Armands/Haralds Regza and Russia’s Vasili Andrianov/Viacheslav Kirienko. With six teams in the men’s qualifier, each was only required to win one match to advance to Thursday’s main draw.
Gathered in Halifax for this year’s event are 59 teams (28 men and 31 women) from 24 countries. With Wednesday’s qualification tournaments determining the final four of 24-main draw spots for each gender, teams will be divided into six four-team pools for round-robin play on Thursday and Friday with the top two teams in each pool along with the best four third place teams advancing to the single-elimination bracket phase that will begin on Friday afternoon.
The medal matches for each gender will be held on Sunday. The event features live video streaming from the SEA center court at www.sandjamhalifax.ca. The gold medal team in each gender will also be rewarded by the FIVB and the respective organizers with wild cards and free transportation to take part in the main draw of a FIVB Swatch World Tour event in 2011 or 2012.
In the longest match of the day, Germany’s Glockner/Stork needed 49 minutes and three sets to overcome Norway’s Robin Bergheim/Lars Retterholt, 21-13, 18-21 and 15-12.
Latvia’s Armands/Regza advanced by defeating Austria’s Christoph Dressler/Fabian Kandolf, 21-12, 21-14 in 31 minutes and Russia’s Andrianov/Kirienko ended the day by beating Mexico’s Ricardo Galindo/Juan Revuelta, 21-17, 21-17 in a 30-minute match.
A total of 2,000 tons of special sand have been transported to the SEA complex to build the four competition and two practice courts for the venue, which includes the 2,000-seat featured SEA center court. Ticket information is available through the event website at www.sandjamhalifax.ca or by calling 902.444.3773. Children, five and under, are free for the entire event. Tickets are also on sale at the gate.
Countries represented in Halifax at the 11th anniversary of this event are Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Mexico, Namibia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Slovak Republic, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, the United States and Venezuela.
Among the men’s teams are 18 men’s players (five teams and eight other players) who played in last year’s FIVB Swatch Junior World Championships in Alanya, Turkey, including Canada’s Garrett May who with then teammate Sam Schachter won the gold medal. This year, May is competing with Danny Demyanenko.
After his team’s win, Latvia’s Haralds Regza said, “Today was all about defense for us as we played the Austrian team for the first time. It wasn’t as tough as we thought it would be as our nerves were getting to us but we were able to put that out of our minds. I really was able to block well in this match which I think helped us a lot as Abolins was serving well so it all worked in our favor this time around.”
As the host nation, Canada has three teams in each gender pre-seeded into the main draw. In addition to defending champion May and new teammate Demyanenko, the other two men’s teams are Nick Del Bianco/Ben Chow and Fiodar Kazhamiaka/William Sidgwick.
Besides Canada’s May, another top individual in the men’s field is Brazil’s Vitor Felipe who won the silver medal in this event both of the last two years. As a team, Poland’s Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak won the gold medal at the 2010 FIVB Swatch Youth World Championships (under 19), in Porto, Portugal and Ukraine’s Sergiy/Valeriy Samoday who won the gold medal at the same event in Alanya, Turkey in 2009.
A founding province of Canada, Nova Scotia is nearly surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, and is known for its high tides, lobster, fish, blueberries and apples. Halifax was the site of the first British town in Canada, founded in 1749. Since then, the area has evolved to be home for charming fishing villages, farming communities and Atlantic Canada's largest city. Halifax, the gateway to Atlantic Canada, has flourished as a prominent port city. Halifax was founded in 1749 by Governor Edward Cornwallis and 2,500 settlers to act as a naval and army base to protect the area, creating Canada’s first permanent British town on the world’s second-largest natural harbor. The peninsula, which Halifax is located on, is 4.5 miles wide and two miles long.
Overall, Brazil leads in final four finishes at the FIVB Swatch Junior World Championships with 18 total final four finishes (8 men’s and 10 women’s) and in gold medals with three men’s and six women’s. Second in men’s final four finishes is Spain with four, including two gold medals) and second in women’s final four finishes is the Netherlands with six (including one gold medal).
Produced by Canada’s Sports and Entertainment Atlantic (SEA) in association with and under the sanction of the Lausanne, Switzerland-based Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB), more event information is available at www.fivb.org or www.sandjamhalifax.ca. The event also has a special Nova Scotia web cam link showing the entire venue at www.novascotiawebcams.com/halifax/sands-at-salter.html.