Halifax, Nova Scotia, September 1, 2011 – Playing the first two of three main draw pool play matches Thursday, the world’s best young-adult men’s duos are basking in the Halifax Harbor sunshine and the hot action on the court at 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. The event features live video streaming from the SEA center court at www.sandjamhalifax.ca.
With 24 teams divided into six four-team pools, five teams are 2-0 after the first day of pool play. Undefeated after Thursday’s first day of pool play to lead their respective pools are teams from four countries. With unbeaten records are two teams from Canada and one each from Poland, Switzerland and the Ukraine. Ticket information is available through the event website at www.sandjamhalifax.ca and they are on sale at the gate. Children, five and under, are free. Gathered in Halifax for this year’s event are 59 teams (28 men and 31 women) from 24 countries.
Using a tiebreaker, leading four teams in their pool all with 1-1 records Thursday is Norway’s 11th-seeded Svein Solhaug/Jonas Tomter.
Round-robin pool play concludes on Friday morning with single-elimination bracket play starting Friday afternoon. The semifinals in each gender will conclude Saturday’s schedule and the medal matches for each gender will be played on Sunday on the SEA center court stadium. The top two teams in each pool along with the best four third place teams will advance to the single-elimination ‘knockout rounds’. After pool play ends Friday, the men and women Round of 16 will be played. Saturday’s schedule will also include the quarterfinals for each gender prior to the semifinals.
Undefeated in pool play are Canada’s top-seeded Garrett May/Dany Demyanenko, Canada’s sixth-seeded Fiodar Kazhamiaka/William Sidgwick, Poland’s Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak, Switzerland’s 10th-seeded Mirco Gerson/Gabriel Kissling and Ukraine’s 20th-seeded Sergiy Popov/Valeriy Samoday.
Canada’s May, 19, who lives in Toronto and is playing in his fifth youth or junior world championship, won the gold medal in last year’s FIVB Swatch Junior World Championships in Alanya, Turkey, with then-teammate Sam Schachter who is over the age limit this year to play. On Thursday, May opened defense of his title in his home country with new teammate Demyanenko by winning in three sets over Latvia’s 24th-seeded Abolins Armands/Haralds Regza, 22-20, 19-21 and 15-11 in 46 minutes. They ended their day once again on the SEA center court with an impressive two-set win over China’s 13th-seeded Jiasu Dou/Jiaxin Wu, 21-11, 21-17 in 32 minutes.
As the host nation, Canada has three teams in each gender pre-seeded into the main draw and the men’s teams ended Thursday with a 5-1 record. In addition to defending champion May and new teammate Demyanenko, and Kazhamiaka/Sidgwick the other Canadian men’s team Nick Del Bianco/Ben Chow ended Thursday with a 1-1 record. Because of seeding, Del Bianco/Chow are in the same pool as compatriots Kazhamiaka/Sidgwick and in their SEA center court match Thursday, Kazhamiaka/Sidgwick won in three sets in the longest match of the day, 53 minutes, 21-18, 17-21 and 16-14.
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.
“We had two great matches today, especially when you consider that Dany and I have only played together for a month,” said May after his second win of the day. “We finished seventh at the Canadian Nationals in Toronto a couple of weeks ago and that gave us a good start for this tournament. We got behind early in both matches but we settled down in both and were able to side out better, play to our strengths and get the wins. I feel the pressure as a defending champion and playing in my home country but it’s also a good feeling knowing I am playing here in Canada.”
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.
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.
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.
Produced by Canada’s Sports and Entertainment Atlantic (SEA) in association with the Canadian Volleyball Federation 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.