FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour

Sao Paulo Grand Slam | 23 - 28 September 2014

#SaoPauloGS


Press release

Austria's Schwaiger on road to Rio with new teammate


Austria's two-time Olympian Stefanie Schwaiger, right, has found a new teammate in Barbara Hansel on the road to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games as the duo plays this week in Brazil at the FIVB Sao Paulo Grand Slam.

Sao Paulo, Brazil, September 25, 2014 - After the end of her long-time and successful partnership with older sister Doris, Austria's Stephanie Schwaiger has settled on a new partner and the FIVB World Tour's Sao Paulo Grand Slam is their first step together towards the 2016 Olympic Games.

The sisters had played World Tour events together since 2003, but Doris Schwaiger walked away from the sport in May this year saying that she had lost her motivation, leaving younger sister Stephanie without a regular playing partner.

Playing without Doris was an unusual experience for Stephanie, and she immediately lined up alongside Babara Hansel - whose regular partner Bianca Zass had a back injury - in what was then a temporary arrangement for the Gstaad Grand Slam in July, but it was a positive experience for both.

They topped their pool with two wins and went straight into the secound round of eliminations, then fell 15-10 in the tie-break to Brazil pair Juliana-Antonelli after fighting back from a set down, but the Sao Paulo Grand Slam marks the start of a more permanent partnership, even though first-day results didn't quite go according to plan.

"We played in between with different partners," said Stephanie, explaining their two opening-day defeats. "We practised just one week together. For sure we can become better, but now we just need stability in our game."

Both players label themselves as blockers, so have had to adjust their playing styles for the combination to work, but are confident in their play going forward.

"We just try to practise a little bit both things," said Hansel after their second close defeat on day one of competition. "But there's still a lot of things to improve. We can already play close matches, it was not enough to win Wednesday but when we work a little more on this we have chances to become a really good team."

Whatever happens in Sao Paulo, the pair intend to play the Xiamen Open in China at the start of October and then see how they feel for the rest of the Open season, but they certainly have a clear objective. "Our goal is the (2016) Olympic Games, and this is the start tournament," said Stephanie.

Alongside her sister, Schwaiger's career took in various final fours and five World Tour medals, and also included fifth-place finishes at both the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, and now she's hoping that with Hansel on court beside her, she'll get another Olympic medal chance.


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