Stare Jablonki, Poland, August 11, 2012 – On the heels of the over-the-top success of beach volleyball at the London 2012 Olympic Games, the 2012 FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour resumes Monday (Aug. 13) by returning to one of the tour’s most popular events at the double-gender $600,000 Mazury Orlen Grand Slam in Stare Jablonki, Poland.
The last of an FIVB-record eight grand slams on the 2012 FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour schedule, the Mazury Orlen Grand Slam will begin with women’s country quota matches on Monday continues with the single elimination qualification tournament on Tuesday to determine the final eight spots in the 32-team main draw pool play on Wednesday and Thursday and single-elimination bracket Thursday afternoon through Friday.
The women’s semifinals and medal matches will be played Saturday with the men’s “final four” matches Sunday as the winning pairs in each gender share the $43,500 first-place prizes. The men’s schedule mirrors the women, starting one day later with country quota matches on Tuesday.
The world’s top beach volleyball tandems are returning to Poland as the double-gender event marks the ninth consecutive visit by the world tour with Stare Jablonki hosting eight previous men’s and five previous women’s events. Overall, this will be the 12th men’s world tour event in Poland and ninth women’s event in the country. Myslowice has hosted three men’s only events (2008, 2011 and 2012) and two women’s events (2008 and 2011) and Warsaw has hosted two women’s events (2006, 2007).
With schedule adjustments made since the 2012 season started in April, the Stare Jablonki will be the last of 11 men’s events and 10th of 12 women’s events for the year. With a team’s eight best finishes counting towards championship points, the men’s season championship is on the line.
USA’s Jake Gibb/Sean Rosenthal, who finished fifth in the London 2012 Olympic Games have just an 80-point lead over Brazil’s Aliston Cerutti/Emanuel Rego, who won the silver medal in London. China’s Chen Xue/Xi Zhang, who finished fourth in the London 2012 Olympic Games, are leading the women’s season point battle with events in Aland, Finland (Aug. 28-Sept. 2) and Bang Saen, Thailand (Oct. 23-28).
The increasingly popular summertime event will once again be held on the grounds of the beautiful, very hospitable and sprawling Hotel Anders. Featuring men-only competition for the first four years, and then double gender tournaments in 2008 and 2009, Stare Jablonki moved up a step to hold Poland's first ever double-gender grand slam in 2009 and continued as a grand slam the last two years as well.
The Polish Volleyball Federation, Hotel Anders and Stare Jablonki have been awarded the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Championships.
The 2011 Stare Jablonki gold medals were claimed by USA’s Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers for the men and Brazil’s Juliana Felisberta Silva/Larissa Franca for the women. USA’s Dalhausser/Rogers defeated home-country stars Grzegorz Fijalek/Mariusz Prudel in the men’s gold medal match for their third straight gold medal in Stare Jablonki and Brazil’s Juliana/Larissa won the women’s gold medal match over USA’s Jennifer Kessy/April Ross to give the Brazilians their third consecutive gold medal in Stare Jablonki as well.
Winning the men’s bronze medal last year was Brazil’s Alison Cerutti/Alison Emanuel while the women’s bronze went to Brazil’s Maria Antonelli/Talita Antunes.
The Mazury Orlen Grand Slam in Stare Jablonki is not only the first FIVB SWATCH World Tour event following this year’s London 2012 Olympic Games and it is the 12th all-time men’s event in Poland and ninth tournament in Stare Jablonki while it will be the ninth overall women’s event in Poland and fifth world tour gathering in Stare Jablonki. The men played earlier this season in April in Myslowice, Poland. The sprawling and tranquil Hotel Anders event site is located adjacent to the beautiful Lake Szelag Maly.
The Mazury Orlen Grand Slam in Stare Jablonki is the last of a FIVB-record eight grand slam events this season. The 2012 FIVB SWATCH World Tour is offering a total purse of $6.13 million in prize money and features 11 events for men and 13 events for women, as well as the 2012 London Olympic Games. There are six single-gender events, three for each gender. The international beach volleyball circuit is visiting 16 sites in 15 countries including four of the five FIVB Confederations.
Women’s play in the Mazury Orlen Grand Slam in Stare Jablonki will begin on August 13 with the gold medal match on August 18 and men’s action will start on August 14 and finish with their gold medal match on August 19.
While the men’s world tour has been in Stare Jablonki every year since 2004 for this exciting summer extravaganza, the women’s world tour has been in Stare Jablonki every year since 2008.
Besides USA’s Dalhausser/Rogers (who also won in Stare Jablonki in 2010 and 2011), other men’s event winners in Stare Jablonki expected in this year’s field are Brazil’s Emanuel (playing again this year with Alison Cerutti) (2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008 with Ricardo-who is playing this year with Pedro Cunha), Switzerland’s Martin Laciga (playing this year with Jonas Weingart) (2005 with Markus Egger) and Brazil’s Pedro Salgado (playing this year with Marcio Araujo) (2009 with Benjamin Insfran).
On the women’s side, Brazil’s Juliana/Larissa (who also won together in Stare Jablonki in 2009 and 2010) are expected back.
All-time in Poland, the FIVB SWATCH World Tour has also had three men’s events in Myslowice along with two women’s events each in Myslowice and Warsaw. With 26 total, Brazil has won the most medals overall in Poland (14 men and 12 women), followed by the United States with eight (five men, three women), China with five (one men, four women), Germany with five (four men, one women), Spain with four (all men), Australia with two (one men, one women), Norway with two (one men, one women) and with one each are Argentina (men), Netherlands (women) and Poland (men).
The 2012 calendar features 13 women's and 11 men's events, including nine double-gender tournaments, within four of the five FIVB confederations in addition to the recent 2012 London Olympic Games that was held 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 $6.02-million in prize money.
The Mazury Orlen Grand Slam in Stare Jablonki, Poland will be the 242nd women’s event and 282nd 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.
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 Mazury Orlen Grand Slam, please visit the event website at www.worldtour.pl.