Brasilia, Brazil, April 3, 2012 – Brasilia is gearing up to host their fourth FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour Open event in a row from April 15 to 22 with main draw teams from 33 countries descending on the Brazilian capital for the first stage of a mammoth 2012 circuit.
Huge crowds are expected once again for the Brasilia Open, the first stop on the FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour
Qualification for the London 2012 Olympic Games will be high on the agenda for many teams this year, but the home pairs will be eager to begin on a high, and will have history on their side when they step onto centre court.
“Our capital city is already accustomed to seeing Brazilian athletes on the podium,” FIVB executive vice-president, CSV president and Brazilian Volleyball Federation president Dr Ary Graça said. “Of the 18 medals on the line in the last three seasons, Brazil have won nine – three gold, three silver, and three bronze. I wish success and the best of luck to all of our athletes and I hope that we can increase these numbers."
“The success over the last three seasons is a proof that the partnership between [promoters] RB2, XYZ Live, CBV and the Federal District Government is working really well,” Ricardo Bernd, president of RB2 Events said. “We hope we can continue offering Brazilian spectators yet another event of utmost importance in the national and international sports calendar.”
The event will also form part of Brasilia’s 52nd anniversary celebrations, and local fans will be able catch some of the country’s biggest sporting idols.
In the women’s competition, 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH world champions Larissa França and Juliana Felisberta Silva will look to maintain the gap between themselves and USA’s two-time Olympic champions Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh as well as Chinese stars Chen Xue and Xi Zhang. All three teams will be looking to gain momentum ahead of London this summer.
In the men’s contest, world champions Alison Cerutti and Emanuel Rego will be hoping to clinch their first Brasilia Open crown in front of home support. They finished second to USA’s Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser in 2011 and will desperately want to begin their season on the right foot. Ricardo Santos, who won gold at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games with Emanuel, will also be on the prowl for a podium place, alongside partner Pedro Cunha.
“Brasilia has already written its own beach volleyball history by featuring such prominent athletes as Leila Barros, Harley Marques (2008 SWATCH World Tour champion), Bruno Schmidt and Angela Vieira,” Fernando von Oertzen, vice-president for Olympic Sports at XYZ Live said. “The city is now strengthening its position in the sports calendar by once again hosting a leg of the World Tour. This year, there is a higher expectation for us to have even more exciting matches, since the event will host many teams that will fight for medals at the London 2012 Olympic Games.”
This year’s competition will also celebrate 25 years since the first World Championships.
The sport’s first international tournament in Rio de Janeiro in 1987 welcomed 20 teams from seven countries – Argentina, Brazil, Chile, USA, Italy, Japan and Mexico – as they fought to become the first ever world champions.
It was Smith/Stoklos who eventually earned the honour, defeating Powers/Kiraly in the final while the home fans had something to cheer about in the battle for bronze medal as Brazilians Montanaro/Renan and Bernard/Edinho clashed, with the former sealing the last place on the podium.
“I was honoured to have participated in this piece of beach volleyball history,” Renan said.
An astonishing 100,000 attended the week-long event, cementing the future of the sport.
“I will never forget that on the day of the semifinal I woke up at 06.00, looked out the window and saw huge lines,” Stoklos said. “When I arrived on the sand, I felt like a rock star coming out on stage.”
Most of the Brazilian athletes who participated in the competition had a background of indoor volleyball and contributed to the new discipline in their own way.
“That event in Brazil paved the way for everything that would follow,” Smith said after reflecting on the scale of the tournament.