Brasília, Brazil, April 10, 2012—Led by Brazil’s defending tour, event and world champions Juliana Felisberta Silva/Larissa Franca, a total of 74 men’s and 71 women’s teams from 35 countries have officially entered next-week’s season-opening event on the 2012 FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour calendar in Brazil. The road to the 2012 London Olympic Games resumes as 16 of the 24 teams in each gender will be determined through year-long Olympic rankings through the FIVB SWATCH World Tour. This will be the first of nine double-gender events on the 2012 world tour schedule.
Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the first FIVB-sanctioned event (Rio de Janeiro in 1987), the international beach volleyball circuit begins for the fourth consecutive season with the US$380,000 Brasília Open to be held this Sunday through next Sunday (April 22) on The Esplanada dos Ministérios in Quadrante 1 as the Brazilian capital will be celebrating its 52nd anniversary on Saturday, April 21. The tournament will be the first of nine double-gender events on the 2012 schedule. Women’s action starts with country quota matches this Sunday for duos from Brazil, and Germany while the men’s competition begins next Tuesday with country quota matches for Brazil, Canada, Germany and the United States.
During the April 21st Brasília anniversary celebrations, crowds of more than 1-million are expected to attend various holiday activities surrounding the FIVB SWATCH World Tour event. Brazil has staged a FIVB SWATCH World Tour event every year since the start of the international series for men in 1989 and women in 1992. This will be the 33rd men’s event and 28th women’s tournament on the FIVB SWATCH World Tour held in Brazil. It will also be the 14th time that the FIVB SWATCH World Tour will have its season-opening event in Brazil.
Countries with teams officially entered in the Brasília double-gender event are Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Columbia, Denmark, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United States, Uruguay, Vanuatu and Venezuela.
The top women’s team heading into the 2012 season is Brazil’s reigning FIVB SWATCH World Tour champions Juliana and Larissa, who are the all-time FIVB career gold medal winners for women with 42. Last season, starting with their title in Brasília, Juliana/Larissa combined to win six gold medals including the 2012 FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Championships in Rome.
“Even with the Olympics hopefully ahead of us, we are going to face this year’s FIVB SWATCH World Tour in the same way we always have, with focus and commitment,” said Larissa this past weekend after she and Juliana won their third gold medal in four events this season on the Brazilian domestic tour. “We think that on the world tour we can build a strong base to get to London in good shape mentally and physically. We hope to play well and win as many international tournaments as we can on our way to London.”
In 2010, starting with their title in Brasília, Juliana/Larissa combined to win seven gold medals after winning the season title in 2009 with an FIVB-record eight gold medals. Juliana/Larissa have won the FIVB SWATCH World Tour season crown six out of the last seven years. They have also won the gold medal in the last four FIVB season openers and six in the last seven years. As a team, Juliana/Larissa have played in 98 FIVB SWATCH World Tour events, earning 79 final four placements including 75 total medals. In addition to the 42 gold medals, the pair has also earned 19 silver medals and 14 bronze. In FIVB events in Brazil, the Juliana/Larissa tandem have won four gold medals, two silver and two bronze. When Juliana was sidelined in 2008 with a knee injury, Larissa also won a gold medal in Guaraja, Brazil with Vivian Cunha.
As the pace quickens on the road to London, also leading the field in Brasília will be two-time Olympic gold medal winners Misty May-Treanor/Kerri Walsh of the United States. As a team, May-Treanor/Walsh have earned 38 career FIVB gold medals, including three in 2011, and 60 final fours in the 74 tournaments they have played together. In Brazil events May-Treanor has won five gold medals including four with Walsh. The dynamic duo has also earned two silvers and a bronze in Brazil together and Walsh has one silver medal with a different partner.
After winning their second Olympic gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, May-Treanor/Walsh didn’t play together internationally until last season. Walsh sat out the majority of the 2009 and 2010 seasons after giving birth to two sons, one each year. May-Treanor missed the 2009 season with an Achilles tendon injury and played much of the 2010 FIVB SWATCH World Tour with Nicole Branagh. In playing in 74 FIVB events together, the duo has won 57 total medals. Besides their 38 FIVB gold medals, May-Treanor/Walsh have earned 13 silver and six bronze medals.
In last year’s gold medal match in Brasília, Juliana/Larissa were extended to three sets before defeating May-Treanor/Walsh, 21-16, 15-21, 15-12 in 46 minutes.
0ther 2011 gold medal teams returning who will all be in Brasília for this season besides Brazil’s Juliana/Larissa and USA’s May-Treanor/Walsh are two-time winners China’s Chen Xue/Xi Zhang (Aland, Finland and Phuket, Thailand) and Netherlands’ Sanne Keizer/Marleen Van Iersel (Sanya China and Shanghai, China, along with single-event winners Jennifer Kessy/April Ross of the United States (Stavanger, Norway) and Brazil’s Maria Antonelli/Talita Antunes (Quebec, Canada). Also in this year’s Brasília Open will be Brazil’s Liliane Maestrini/Angel Vieira who won the gold medal in last year’s Olympic test event in London at Horse Guards Parade, the site of the beach volleyball competition at this year’s Olympic Games.
Among the other 2011 FIVB SWATCH World Tour podium finishers expected in Brazil are Austrian sisters Doris and Stefanie Schwaiger, Italy’s Greta Cicolar/Marta Menegatti, Germany’s Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler, Germany’s Sara Goller/Laura Ludwig, Brazil’s Maria Clara Salgado (playing this year with Raquel Pa\ellucci) and Brazil’s Vivian Cunha/Taiana Lima.
The gold medal teams in each gender in the Brasília Open will each split $30,000, the silver $21,000, the bronze $15,000 and fourth place $11,200. The women’s medal matches will be held next Friday, April 20 and the men’s medal matches will be played on Sunday, April 22. Here are the official women’s entries as of April 10:
2012 FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour -
Women’s Brasília Open Entries (as of 10/04/12)
Women’s Main Draw Entries, Country
Natalie Cook/Tamsin Hinchley, Australia
Louise Bawden/Becchara Palmer, Australia
Barbara Hansel/Sara Montagnolli, Austria
Doris Schwaiger/Stefanie Schwaiger, Austria
Katrien Gielen/Liesbeth Mouha, Belgium
Juliana Felisberta Silva/Larissa Franca, Brazil
Maria Antonelli/Talita Antunes, Brazil
Vivian Cunha/Taiana Lima, Brazil
Liliane Maestrini/Angela Vieira, Brazil
Heather Bansley/Elizabeth Maloney, Canada
Chen Xue/Xi Zhang, China
Sara Goller/Laura Ludwig, Germany
Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler, Germany
Jana Kohler/Julia Sude, Germany
Vassiliki Arvaniti/Maria Tsiartsiani, Greece
Greta Cicolari/Marta Menegatti, Italy
Sanne Keizer/Marleen Van Iersel, Netherlands
Ekaterina Khomyakova/Evgenia Ukolova, Russia
Anastasia Vasina/Anna Vozakova, Russia
Elsa Baquerizo/Liliana Fernandez, Spain
Simone Kuhn/Nadine Zumkehr, Switzerland
Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Hanson, United States
Jennifer Kessy/April Ross, United States
Misty May-Treanor/Kerri Walsh, United States
Women’s Qualification Tournament Entries, Country
Gabriela Albano/Luciana Forguez, Argentina
Ana Gallay/Virginia Zonta, Argentina
Shaylyn Bede/Vanilda Leão, Brazil
Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas, Brazil
Claudinere Bento/Rebecca Cavalcanti, Brazil
Michelle Carvalho/Michelle Soares, Brazil
Erica Freitas/Tathiana Soares, Brazil
Elize Maia/Renata Ribeiro, Brazil
Raquel Pellucci/Maria Clara Salgado, Brazil
Svetla Angelova/Eva Tcholakova, Bulgaria
Jamie Broder/Kristina Valjas, Canada
Marie-Andree Lessard/Annie Martin, Canada
Kacie MacTavish/Kacie MacTavish, Canada
Fan Wang/Yuan Yue, China
Yuanyuan Ma/Changning Zhang, China
Andrea Galindo/Claudia Galindo, Columbia
Emilia Nystrom/Erika Nystrom, Finland
Melody Benhamou/Deborah Giaoui, France
Eva Hamzaoui/Laura Longuet, France
Andrezza "Rtvelo" Martins/Cristine "Saka" Santanna, Georgia
Victoria Bieneck/Julia Grossner, Germany
Karla Borger/Britta Buthe, Germany
Stefanie Huttermann/Katarina Schillerwein, Germany
Lucy Boulton/Denise Johns, Great Britain
Zara Dampney/Shauna Mullin, Great Britain
Laura Giombini/Viktoria Orsi Toth, Italy
Daniela Gioria/Giulia Momoli, Italy
Miwa Asao/Keiko Urata, Japan
Sayaka Mizoe/Shinako Tanaka, Japan
Takemi Nishibori/Satoko Urata, Japan
Bibiana Candelas/Mayra Garcia, Mexico
Laura Bloem/Roos Van der Hoeven, Netherlands
Madelein Meppelink/Sophie van Gestel, Netherlands
Merel Mooren/Jantine Van der Vlist, Netherlands
Ragnhild Aas/Maiken Bornvik, Norway
Janne Kongshavn/Ane Tveit Hjortland, Norway
Janne Pedersen/Cindy Treland, Norway
Monika Brzostek/Kinga Kolosinska, Poland
Elizaveta Ryabova/Maria Ushkova, Russia
Berta Antequera/Ester Ribera, Spain
Nadia Campisi/Clara Lozano, Spain
Joana Heidrich/Romana Kayser, Switzerland
Angie Akers/Brittany Hochevar, United States
Karina Cardozo/Maria Nieto, Uruguay
Fabiana Gomez/Lucia Guigou, Uruguay
Henriette Iatika/Elwin Miller, Vanuatu
Joyce Joshua/Linline Matauatu, Vanuatu