FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour

Kish Island Open 2016 | 15 - 19 February 2016

#KishIslandOpen


Press release

Naeini aiming to help lift Iran to new heights


Reza Naeini (left) and Bahman Gholipoury are part of Iran's growing beach volleyball team

Kish Island, Iran, February 15, 2016 – Iran’s players are becoming quickly accustomed to life on FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, especially as their country are hosting a World Tour event for the first time at the Kish Island Open this week.

Reza Naeini and Bahman Gholipoury are one of four teams that began the competition’s qualification tournament on Monday and while they were knocked out 2-0 (21-18, 22-20) by China’s Li Zhuoxin and Li Jian, they are confident about the future of Iranian beach volleyball.



“It is very exciting as it the first time the World Tour has come to Iran,” Naeini said. “There are some very famous players here, which is good for our beach volleyball players to experience playing against.

“In Iran volleyball is very popular, but I hope in the future that beach volleyball grows in popularity among the public. If one of the Iranian teams reaches the round of 16 here, that would be a good result for our country.”

Naeini

Iran have been one of the volleyball success stories in recent years, most notably when they narrowly missed out on the bronze medal at the 2014 FIVB Volleyball World League Finals in Florence.

To help Iran’s beach volleyball players match that success the Iran Volleyball Federation have brought in Brazilian coach Luciano Barbosa to help their players’ development.

“For the first time we have a foreign beach volleyball coach. He’s Brazilian and they are the best beach volleyball country in the world,” the 39-year-old Naeini added. “He has only been here a month, but he has helped with our technique so much and we are better than before.”

Barbosa
Brazilian Luciano Barbosa is coaching Iran's beach volleyball teams

Prior to playing beach volleyball Naeini was a setter for a number of clubs in the Iranian Super League. Since his mid-20s he played volleyball in the winter months and beach volleyball in the summer, but now focuses exclusively on beach volleyball.

“It would be good to have a team or teams at every World Tour tournament and the Olympic Games Asian Qualifiers in Australia and Thailand,” Naeini said. “If a team went to the Olympic Games it would be great.

“If a team went to the Olympics it would make beach volleyball very popular. Here there are beaches to the north and beaches in the south and now the Federation has started to support beach volleyball.”

The Kish Island event is the first of the 11 Open tournaments to be staged by the FIVB in 2016, following on from Open events in Puerto Vallarta, Antalya and Doha in October and November last year, which heralded the start of the 2015-16 season. Qatar will host a second Open event in Doha from April 4 to 8.

The 2015-2016 beach volleyball calendar also includes five Grand Slams, three Major Series stops and the second edition of the Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals. The beach volleyball tournament at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games which will take place on Copacabana Beach will be the highlight of the 2016 calendar.

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