Lausanne, Switzerland, October 29, 2011—After just over two months off from tournament play, the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour resumes next Tuesday for the sixth time in Thailand with the women’s season-ending $190,000 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour Phuket Thailand Open powered by PTT to be held at Karon Beach through November 6.
Many of the world’s top women’s beach volleyball tandems are on the way to Thailand as the 15-event 2011 women’s season ends with just the sixth consecutive FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour season finale in Thailand.
The women’s season-finale of the 2011 FIVB Swatch World Tour schedule, the Phuket Thailand Open powered by PTT, featuring 56 teams from 27 countries, begins with country quota matches on Tuesday, single elimination qualification tournament on Wednesday to determine the final eight spots in the 32-team main draw which will be held next Wednesday through Saturday. The semifinals and medal matches will be played Sunday as the winning pair shares the $30,000 first-place prizes.
A total of 55 teams from 27 countries have entered the Phuket Thailand Open powered by PTT (as of October 29, 2011), including Australia (2 teams), Austria (1), Belgium (1), Brazil (3), Canada (4), China (3), Czech Republic (2), Finland (1), France (1), Georgia (1), Germany (4), Great Britain (2), Greece (1), Italy (3), Japan (3), Kazakhstan (4), Latvia (1), Malaysia (2), Mexico (1), Netherlands (2), Puerto Rico (1), Russia (1), Slovak Republic (1), Spain (2), Thailand (3), Ukraine (1), and United States (4).
Two former Phuket championship teams are leading the field into Thailand this year. USA’s two-time Phuket gold medal winners Jennifer Kessy/April Ross won in 2008 and 2009 while China’s Chen Xue/Xi Zhang captured the crown of the inaugural event in 2006. Last year, Kessy/Ross finished 13th in the tournament while Xue/Zhang had an injury forfeit ending the event with a ninth place final finish.
Among the other teams entered in Phuket from among the 2011 FIVB Swatch World Tour top 10 money leaders are Italy’s Greta Cicolari/Marta Menegatti, Brazilian sisters Carolina and Maria Clara Salgado and USA’s Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Hanson.
In Phuket last year, Menegatti captured the silver medal with a different partner while the Salgado sisters earned the bronze medal.
On this year’s FIVB Swatch World Tour, USA’s Kessy/Ross won the Grand Slam event in Stavanger, Norway in July while China’s Xue/Zhang earned the gold medal at the tour stop in Aland, Finland in August. Brazil’s top team entered in this year’s Phuket event, Liliane Maestrini/Angela Vieira won the gold at the Olympic test event in London in August.
“All of us at the FIVB sincerely appreciate the continued efforts by all of those involved with the Phuket Thailand Open, especially Pentangle Promotions of Bangkok and the Thailand Volleyball Association," commented Dr. Ary Graça , President of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Council. "We are acutely aware of the issues caused by serious flooding in much of Thailand over the last several months which has impacted both organizations as they diligently prepare to host this event in Phuket for the sixth consecutive year. While there is no flooding in the area of Karon Beach, many provinces around Bangkok have been significantly impact and both organizations are based in Bangkok."
Thailand has three teams entered in this year’s tournament and all have been pre-seeded into the main draw as the host nation. The three teams selected for the main draw are Kamoltip Kulna/Varapatsorn Radarong, Jarunee Sannok/Usa Tenpaksee and Tanarattha Udomchavee/Rumpaipruet. Numwong. Kulna/Radarong and Sannok/Tenpaksee both went undefeated this week in Phetchaburi, Thailand to lead Thailand’s women’s team to victory at the AVC Continental Cup zonal beach volleyball tournament of Southeast Asia.
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 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 were combined men's and women's events, including the World Championships and the six Grand Slam stops. The men’s tour concluded in October in Agadir Morocco.
The Phuket Thailand Open will be the 232nd women’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 271 men’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.