Klagenfurt, Austria, July 22, 2012—Dealing with every challenge and adversity thrown at them from the quality of competition to a day-long outpouring of steady rain and its effects on the playing surface on Saturday, Netherland’s gritty and determined Richard Schuil captured an impressive men’s gold medal victory Sunday to conclude the annual summer pilgrimage to Austria better known in this European nation as the week-long $600,000 A1 Grand Slam presented by ERGO in Klagenfurt am Wörthersee.
With the road to London now ended as these 17 of the teams, including the new champions who were in Klagenfurt can clearly focus on the field of 24 international teams at this week’s start of the XXX Olympiad in Great Britain, Netherland’s eighth-seeded Nummerdor/Schuil won gold in Austria as a prelude to the 2012 London Olympic Games by defeating Brazil’s seventh-seeded Marcio Araujo/Pedro Salgado before an adoring Austrian standing-room-only crowd in the Klagenfurt stadium center court.
In yet another in the epic saga of the FIVB SWATCH World Tour in Klagenfurt, Netherland’s Nummerdor/Schuil came from way back to pull out another three set victory, defeating Brazil’s Marcio/Salgado, 14-21, 21-12 and 15-13 in the 48-minute gold medal finale. It once again delighted the enthusiastic crowd of nearly 9,000 that packed the Klagenfurt stadium center court who spent most of the match on their feet recognizing the talent of both teams.
Finishing their 68th FIVB SWATCH World Tour event as a team, Netherland’s Nummerdor/Schuil are now 34-16 this season, earning their ninth career gold medal, 16th overall medal and a spot in the final four for the 20th time,
Brazil’s Marcio/Salgado are now 38-19 overall this season including 2-0 in qualification tournaments and 2-1 in country quota matches while playing in just their 10th tournament as a team and this was their third medal as a team, second silver and their fourth final four appearance. Individually, Marcio, 38, was playing in his 69th FIVB SWATCH World Tour final four having now won 20 gold, 19 silver, 16 bronze medals and 14 fourth place finishes. Pedro was playing in his 30th world tour final four and now has 11 gold, five silver, five bronze medals and nine career fourth place finishes.
Nummerdor/Schuil, who finished fifth in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, are now going to Great Britain as the fifth-seeded team in this year’s 2012 London Olympic Games.
Marcio/Salgado are the only team in this year’s Klagenfurt final four who will not be playing in the upcoming Olympic Games in London. Marcio finished ninth in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and second in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games with different partners. Marcio, 38, is also one of only five players who has won more than 1,500 matches on the FIVB SWATCH World Tour.
Brazil and Netherlands have met six times as countries in an FIVB SWATCH World Tour gold medal match with Brazil holding a 4-2 lead in the match-up following Sunday’s victory by the Netherlands.
The world’s top beach volleyball tandems returned to Austria as the double-gender event marked the 16th consecutive visit by the FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour with Klagenfurt hosting 15 men’s and 11 previous women’s events. In 2001 Klagenfurt hosted the FIVB SWATCH World Championships and has hosted a grand slam every year since 2002.
One of the most popular events of many ‘favorite’ events on the FIVB SWATCH World Tour, the Klagenfurt venue featured a purpose-built 8,000-seat stadium center court and massive two-story VIP hospitality area and private dock along with another private players dock alongside the short of spectacularly beautiful Lake Woerth in western Klagenfurt, which is located in Southern Austria.
For their placements in the seventh of a FIVB-record eight grand slams on the 2012 FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour schedule, the winning pair in the A1 Grand Slam will share the $43,500 first-place prize, the Silver medal winners will split $29,500 while bronze medal winners will divide $23,000 and the four place teams in will each receive $18,400.
Netherlands’ Nummerdor/Schuil seemed to be uncertain of what Brazil’s Marcio/Salgado’s tactics were in the first set and fell behind early and never really threatened in the set won by the Brazilians, 21-13.
In the close second set, the Dutch altered their strategy from the first set and squeezed out a 21-19 win and set the stage for the third set. Tied six times in the first six points of the tie-breaker set, Netherland’s Nummerdor/Schuil went up by four points at 10-6, then held off the charge of Brazil’s Marcio/Salgado who closed to 8-10 before the Dutch pulled ahead again at 12-9, 13-10 and the Brazilians gave one more lunge 12-13 and 13-14 before the match ended when Marcio’s kill landed just outside the right sideline.
“Any win is a good one, but this gold medal victory, just before the Olympics is a great one for us,” said Nummerdor following the title match. “We started slow in both the semifinals against the Americans and against the Brazilians, but we switched tactics in both matches and hung on by making fewer errors in both matches. We were 6-1 here in Austria which gives us some consistency and momentum as we head to the Olympic Games again.”
In Sunday’s scheduled all-American bronze medal match between the top two seeds in this tournament and the two American men’s teams heading to London for the Olympic Games, USA’s top-seeded Jake Gibb/Sean Rosenthal won by forfeit as USA’s second-seeded Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers took a medical forfeit as Dalhausser injured his ankle in their semifinal match earlier Sunday.
USA’s Gibb/Rosenthal are now 48-17 in 61st world tour events together having earned 12 total medals, three bronze medals and 14th final four finishes. For USA’s Dalhausser/Rogers, they are now 43-10 this season in 56 world tour events together four fourth place finishes and 43 final four appearances.
With the full house already on its collective feet, Sunday morning’s men’s semifinals saw Netherland’s Nummerdor/Schuil increase their FIVB SWATCH World Tour series edge to 5-2 with a hard fought, three-set, come-from-behind victory over USA’s Gibb/Sean Rosenthal, 13-21, 21-19 and 16-14 in 53 minutes. In defeat, Rosenthal said, “In the second set we came back from a 13-19 deficit and thought we would win, and we didn’t. Basically they had better ball control and were much better setting than we were, so it’s a very tough loss especially because we have been in the last three gold medal matches on the world tour.”
In the second semifinal, another three-setter delighted the enthusiastic crowd as Brazil’s Marcio/Salgado, who did not qualify for this year’s Olympics, won their ‘gold medal’ match against reigning Olympic championsUSA’s Dalhausser/Rogers, 25-23, 17-21 and 15-10 in one hour, seven minutes as the only set with significant drama was the first when both teams had match points but it was the Brazilians who closed it out. The two teams have only met twice with Brazil’s Marcio/Salgado moving to 1-2 against the Americans.
A total of 155 teams from 37 countries (89 men’s teams from 30 countries and 66 women’s teams from 24 countries) started the A1 Grand Slam presented by ERGO.
The 2012 calendar features 13 women's and 12 men's events, including nine double-gender tournaments, within four of the five FIVB confederations in addition to the approaching 2012 London Olympic Games on July 28 to August 9 in a purpose-built 15,000 stadium on the grounds of the iconic Horse Guards Parade. The 2012 FIVB SWATCH World Tour is offering $6,110-million in prize money.
After the upcoming 2012 London Olympic Games, the 2012 FIVB Swatch World Tour returns to action with the eighth and final grand slam double-gender event August 13-19 with the Mazury Orlen Grand Slam in Stare Jablonki, Poland. The total prize money for each Grand Slam event is $600,000.
The A1 Grand Slam was the 241st women’s event and 281st men’s event on the FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour (open, grand slam, Olympic and Goodwill) schedule. 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.
Also on-site at the Klagenfurt venue was a special production crew from IMG, the company that not only produces the live international telecasts of the medal matches, but also the weekly FIVB SWATCH World Tour highlight show that is syndicated throughout the world.
For more information on the 2012 FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour or the event, please visit www.fivb.org. For additional information on the A1 Grand Slam, please visit the event website at www.beachvolleyball.at.