Lausanne, Switzerland, September 29, 2011 - After just over a month off from tournament play, the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour resumes on Tuesday for the first time in Morocco with the men’s season-ending $190,000 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour Morocco Open to be held in Agadir through October 9.
Many of the world’s top men’s beach volleyball tandems are on the road to Morocco as the 14-event 2011 men’s season ends with just the second host country of an FIVB Swatch World Tour event in Africa. The 15-event women’s 2011 FIVB Swatch World Tour concludes Nov. 1-6 in Phuket, Thailand. While this will be the first World Tour stop in Morocco, three satellite events were held in Casablanca in 2004, 2005 and 2006. South Africa is the only other African nation to host World Tour events – in 1995, 2004 and 2005 in Cape Town and in Durban in 1996.
The men’s season-finale of the 2011 FIVB Swatch World Tour, the Morocco Open, featuring 84 teams from 31 countries, begins under the honorary presidency of his Royal Highness Prince Moulay Rachid with country quota matches on Tuesday, single elimination qualification tournament on Wednesday to determine the final eight spots in the 32-team main draw on Wednesday through Saturday. The semifinals and medal matches will be played Sunday as the winning pairs in each gender share the $30,000 first-place prizes.
A total of 84 teams from 31 countries have officially entered the Morocco Open: Angola (1 team), Argentina (2), Australia (1), Austria (3), Belgium (1), Brazil (7), China (2), Czech Republic (2), Egypt (1), France (1), Georgia (1), Germany (3), Great Britain (4), Italy (7), Japan (3), Kazakhstan (2), Latvia (2), Morocco (7), Netherlands (6), New Zealand (1), Norway (3), Poland (1), Portugal (2), Russia (3), Spain (3), Sweden (3), Switzerland (4), Turkey (1), Ukraine (2), United States (3) and Venezuela (2).
Leading the field in Agadir are the 2009 FIVB Swatch world champions Julius Brink/Jonas Reckermann. The German duo are currently third in points and in earnings on the 2011 FIVB Swatch World Tour with six podium placements.
Other teams entered in Agadir from among the 2011 FIVB Swatch World Tour top 10 money leaders are USA’s Jake Gibb/Sean Rosenthal and Matt Fuerbringer/Nick Lucena,, Switzerland’s Jefferson Bellaguarda/Patrick Heuscher, Reinder Nummerdor/Richard Schuil from the Netherlands, Brazil’s Pedro Cunha/Ricardo Santos and Penggen Wu/Linyin Xu from China.
Cunha/Santos have won the gold medal in two of the four tournaments they have played together this year (Klagenfurt, Austria and The Hague, Netherlands in August) and the other event winners entered in this event are Brazil’s Marcio Araujo and Benjamin Insfran. Marcio Araujo won the gold medal this year with Ricardo in Stavanger, Norway in July and with Benjamin in Aland, Finland in August. Marcio Araujo will again be teamed with Benjamin in Agadir.
“Morocco has made a serious commitment to developing its beach volleyball program and this event in Agadir will help launch their campaign in front of a global audience," commented Dr. Ary Graça, FIVB Beach Volleyball Commission president. "Beach volleyball is developing rapidly in Africa and the FIVB is extremely supportive and excited about the prospects of our sport within the confederation, especially considering the success of the Continental Cup. The FIVB is also very encouraged with the support of this new event by the Morocco Volleyball Federation and the tournament promoter Allam El Adberrazak."
Morocco has seven teams entered in this inaugural tournament, including three who have been pre-seeded into the main draw as the host nation. While the other four teams will attempt to earn one of the final eight spots in the main draw through the qualification tournament, the three teams already selected for the main draw are Mohamed Abicha/Khalid Berma, Soufiane Bouchaoui/Othmane Farabi, and Ihssane Boukhar/Karim Oughdach.
The 2011 calendar features 15 women's and 14 men's events within all five FIVB confederations plus one special 24-team single-gender women’s test event, which was held August 9-14 at London’s Horse Guards Parade, the venue for the beach volleyball at the 2012 London Olympic Games. The 2011 FIVB Swatch World Tour is offering $7.64m in prize money. Twelve of the tournaments were combined men's and women's events, including the World Championships and the six Grand Slam stops.
The Morocco Open will be the 271st 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. There have been 231 women’s events in FIVB Swatch World Tour history.
For more information on the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour, please visit www.fivb.org.