FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour

Moscow Grand Slam 2016 | 24 - 29 mai 2016


Press release

Borger/Buthe’s R&R - restless in Stuttgart, relaxing in Russia

Enjoying a morning conversation in Moscow Saturday with coach Srdjan Veckov (left) and Russian Grand Slam promoter Ilya Volodarskiy (right) are Germans Britta Buthe (second from left) and Karla Borger.

Moscow, Russia, May 21, 2016 - For the top teams on the FIVB World Tour, the arrival date on-site for a tournament is usually Sunday, Monday or Tuesday with play starting on Wednesday.

But not for Karla Borger and Britta Buthe with their arrival here Thursday for next week’s US$800,000 Moscow Grand Slam, the second “big” event on the 2015-2016 FIVB World Tour calendar that started last October in Mexico and ends this October at the same site next to the Pacific Ocean in Puerto Vallarta.

“We were getting restless at home in Stuttgart, especially with our regular training partners (Chantel Laboureur and Julia Sude) not around to practice with,” said Borger.  â€œSo we decided to come to Moscow early to practice with the Russian teams prior to the Moscow Grand Slam along with enjoying a restaurant opening and a dinner with a young couple that we meet two weeks ago in Sochi.”


Also weighing heavy on Borger and Buthe’s minds were thoughts about qualifying for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games where they skipped this week’s FIVB World Tour event in the United States where their leading challengers for the second spot for German women in the Copacabana quadrennial were competing in the Cincinnati Open presented by AVP.

“We needed a break after playing four of the last five weeks in China (Xiamen and Fuzhou), Russia (Sochi) and Turkey (Antalya),” said Borger, who was sideline more than six months (August 2015-January 2016) recovering from back surgery.  â€œThinking about qualifying and not practicing as usual made us restless, so we needed to change things up and enjoy some friendship with friends.”

With their coach Srdjan Veckov knowing the owner of three Serbian restaurants in the Russian capital, the young German pair arrived in time Thursday to participate in the opening of a “new” Nikola Tesla Restaurant.  â€œThat was great fun and very enjoyable,” said Buthe here Saturday morning at breakfast before going to the Moscow Grand Slam venue for the first of two training sessions.

“We ate at the other Serbian restaurant last night and we are having dinner tonight with a young Moscow couple that we met in Sochi two weeks ago,” said Buthe.  â€œWe met the couple while dining in Sochi and they invited us to their home here, tonight for dinner.  Instead of thinking about and training for Beach Volleyball, we have a chance to relax and enjoy another relaxing evening in Moscow.”

Borger and Buthe with their coach, his family and Karla's mother in Antalya


With a maximum of two teams per country allowed to participate in the Beach Volleyball competition at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Borger and Buthe rank No. 7 on the provisional list, excluding Brazilians, with 4,920 points for their best 12 finishes on the FIVB World Tour since the start of the qualifying process in April 2015.

Compatriots Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst have secured a spot for Germany in the Copacabana event with 6,000 points to rank as the No. 1 team on the provisional list.  Brazilian pairs secured their nation’s two Rio 2016 Olympic berths by winning the 2015 FIVB World Championships in The Hague last July (Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas) and being the host country (Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca).

While Borger and Buthe returned to Stuttgart after finishing fifth at the Turkish stop in Antalya, their chief German rivals Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler traveled to Cincinnati where they were eliminated Friday to place fifth in the event.  Holtwick and Semmler needed to place fourth or higher in the Cincy stop to better their current point total of 4,770 points for their best 12 placements during the qualifying period.

“Yes, we were following the Cincinnati event,” said Borger as the sixth-seeded Holtwick and Semmler were ousted by 13th-seeded Xinyi Xia and Chen Xue of China 2-0 (21-19, 21-8) in a 28-minute quarter-final match Friday.  â€œThese are tough times emotionally for all the German teams.  It is great that Germany has secured two spots in the women’s field at Rio, but now it comes down to the last three qualifying events to see who can finish No. 2.”
Borger (left) and Buthe at a FIVB World Tour stop in Vitoria, Brazil.


Of the three remaining qualifying events, two are FIVB World Tour stops in Moscow next week and June 7-12 in Hamburg, Germany.  Sandwiched between the two events is the European continental championships June 1-5 in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland.  A team can use their best continental placement from either the 2015 or 2016 championships as one of their best 12 finishes.

Both Borger/Buthe and Holtwick Semmler will need “final four” finishes in the European championships to improve their score.  With the points for placement higher in FIVB Grand Slam and SWATCH Major events, both pairs need ninth-place or higher finishes to improve their total.

The Moscow event also provides extra incentive for Borger and Buthe as the pair placed 25th in the 2015 Grand Slam in the Russian capital for their lowest finish during the Rio qualifying process that was not among their top 12 placements.  Holtwick and Semmler were ninth last season in Moscow and the finish is listed among their top 12 placements.

“There is so much focus on the Olympic, I wish we could talk about other things,” said Borger after playing a match at the Antalya Open where her team’s fifth-place finish improved their provisional Rio ranking.  â€œWe are trying to stay focus about trying to win each match as they come.  It is hard not to think about Rio and qualifying when participating in each event.”

So Borger and Buthe talked Saturday morning at the host hotel for the Moscow Grand Slam about the enjoyment of eating at the Serbian restaurant in Moscow the past two nights and their invitation to a dinner party tonight at a couple’s home in the Russia capital tonight.

“The last two nights have been very relaxing and enjoyable,” said Buthe.  â€œTonight will be something special as a new friendship made on the FIVB World Tour at the Sochi event led to an out of the ordinary occurrence for us during our international travel.  It is another evening relaxing and not thinking about next week’s event.”


The 2016 Moscow Grand Slam is the second of four Grand Slam events on the 2015-2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball calendar as the Russia capital is hosting world tour event for the ninth-straight year.  The event is the 15th on the men’s schedule this season and 12th for women.

Both men’s and women’s play start Tuesday with a qualifier where the top eight teams per gender will advance to the opening Main Draw rounds were pool play will be featured Wednesday and Thursday at Vodny Stadium Beach Sports Centre.  The elimination rounds will be played Friday and Saturday to set the lineup for Sunday’s medal matches where the winning teams will share the $57,000 first-place prizes.

Brazilians Talita and Larissa are the defending Moscow Grand Slam gold medal winners after defeating Madelein Meppelink and Marleen Van Iersel of the Netherlands 2-0 (21-17, 21-14) in the 40-minute finale.  Italy’s Marta Menegatti and Viktoria Orsi Toth won the bronze medal match with a 2-1 (14-21, 21-19, 16-14) win in 55 minutes.

Adrian Gavira and Pablo Herrera of Spain won their first FIVB World Tour gold medal together in the men’s final with a 2-0 (21-19, 21-19) victory in 43 minutes over Brazilians Evandro Goncalves and Pedro Solberg.  Jonathan Erdmann and Kay Matysik of Germany defeated Brazilian world champions Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt 2-0 (21-19, 21-17) in the 39-minute men’s bronze medal match.
Disappointing 25th in 2015 Moscow Grand Slam for Borger (pictured) and Buthe

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