Brasília, Brazil, April 15, 2012 — Hoping to keep their main draw aspirations alive, three women’s teams from the host country Brazil and one from Germany emerged Sunday from the hard-fought Country Quota Playoffs to advance to Monday’s Qualification Tournament as the 2012 FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour began at the US$380,000 Brasília Open in the capital of Brazil.
Playing heated matches against their compatriots to complete the allotted quota for the tournament, moving on from Brazil are Raquel Pelluci/Maria Clara Salgado, Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas and Erica Freitas/Tathiana Soares.
Advancing for Germany is the team of Karla Borger/Britta Buthe.
With the 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 will be held through next Sunday (April 22) on The Esplanada dos Ministérios in Quadrante 1 as the Brazilian capital is celebrating its 52nd anniversary on Saturday. The tournament is the first of nine double-gender events on the 2012 schedule.
After playing eight seasons and 102 FIVB SWATCH World Tour matches with her sister Carolina, Maria Clara Salgado and Pelluci defeated Shaylyn Bede/Vanilda Leão, 21-18, 23-25 and 15-13 in a 59-minute center-court match to earn the place in Monday’s women’s qualification tournament. Bednarczuk/Seixas advanced by with a two-set victory over Michelle Carvalho/Michelle Soares, 21-14, 21-18 in 38 minutes
In the final all-Brazilian country quota match Sunday, Freitas/Soares overcame Elize Maia/Renata Ribeiro in another three-setter, 21-12, 19-21 and 21-15 in 45 minutes.
"I am very happy with this victory because this tournament means a restart for me in the FIVB SWATCH World Tour,” said Maria Clara Salgado, whose sister Carolina is pregnant and not playing this season. “After eight years alongside Carolina, I have a new partner that makes me face a new challenge. This experience is really excellent for my evolution as athlete. I am learning a lot about listening to different opinions, giving my partner more space and communicating. Now we will play the qualification tournament against very good teams, so it will be not easy.”
In the all-German country quote match, Borger/Buthe bested Victoria Bieneck/Julia Grossner, 21-17, 21-16 in 31 minutes.
The men’s Country Quota Playoffs and Qualification Tournament will be played Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. Eight teams from each Qualification Tournament will advance to their respective 32-team main draw tournaments in the US$380,000 event. The Main Draw rounds start Tuesday for women and Thursday for men.
During next Saturday’s Brasília anniversary celebrations, crowds of several hundred thousand 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 34th men’s event and 29th women’s tournament on the FIVB SWATCH World Tour held in Brazil. It is 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 capital city of the South American country is welcoming 135 men and women’s teams from 35 countries. This event is the 272nd men’s and 233rd women’s competition in the history of the FIVB SWATCH World Tour. Two-time returning defending men’s champions in Brazil are Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers of the United States and the three-time defending women’s champions here are Juliana Felisberta Silva/Larissa Franca of Brazil. All six medal-winning teams from 2011 have returned to Brazil this year.
The men’s Country Quota Playoffs and Qualification Tournament will be played Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. Eight teams from each Qualification Tournament will advance to their respective main draw tournaments in the US$380,000 event. The Main Draw rounds start Tuesday for women and Thursday for men.
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 Friday and the men’s medal matches will be played next Sunday.