Sanya, China, April 23, 2012 – Beijing Olympic bronze medal winners Xue Chen/Zhang Xi will seek back-to-back title in the 2012 FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour Olympic Bay Sanya Open following their victory in the season-opening Brazilia Open last week.
“We have produced our best ever results in the Brasilia Open and I believe good luck will always stay with us,” said Xue Chen, who paired with Zhang Xi to capture the title of the Sanya Open in 2010.
Sixty-five tandems from 27 countries and regions have registered for the first women’s single gender event of the season to vie for a total prize money of 190,000 US dollars with the country-quota competitions to kick off on Tuesday.
Beach Volleyball came to Sanya with a particular fascination during the “exceptional” year of 2008. Thanks to the perfect combination of dynamic games and the terrific tropical scene of Sanya, FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour Sanya Open achieved an immediate success in its first edition and has already become a brand for the beautiful beach city in southern China.
The Sanya Open, a double gender event for the first two editions, has witnessed success of four different women’s tandems in the last four years. April Ross/Jennifer Boss from the United States beat China's Huang Ying/Zhang Xi in the final to clinch the inaugural Sanya women's crown in 2008. One year later, Swiss “black horses” Simone Kuhn and Nadine Zumkehr emerged as surprise winners over American runners-up Jen Kessy and April Ross.
Home players finally got a touch on the trophy in 2010 as Xue Chen and Zhang Xi defeated German team Sara Goller and Laura Ludwig for the gold medal before Juliana Felisberta Silva/Larissa Franca of Brazil celebrated their success in 2011.
The Olympic Bay Sanya Open will be first of three consecutive 2012 FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour events hosted by Chinese cities, followed by Beijing and Shanghai Grand Slams.
This year’s Sanya Open is also included as a part of the Beach Volleyball Qualification Tournament for the 2012 London Olympic Games. The competition will start on Tuesday with country quota matches. After four days of qualification and main draw action, the final will be staged on Sunday.