FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour

Cincinnati Open | 17 - 21 May 2016

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Press release

No Beach Volleyball “Battle Royale”, but an Olympic “Duel in Ohio”


Germany's Jonathan Erdmann (left) hits at the FIVB World Tour against Mexico's Juan Virgen in last June's St. Petersburg Grand Slam in the United States during an elimination match at the Florida coastal city.

Lausanne, Switzerland, May 16, 2016 - The anticipated “Battle Royale” in the “Queen City” among three teams fighting for the last two spots on the FIVB World Tour will not happen this week at the US$150,000 Cincinnati Open presented by AVP due to a late withdrawal of Markus Bockermann and Lars Fluggen of Germany.

But now it is the “Duel in Ohio” between Mexico’s Lombardo Ontiveros/Juan Virgen and Germany’s Jonathan Erdmann/Kay Matysik as the two Beach Volleyball pairs are separated by 20 points on the provisional men’s ranking list for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games entering the final weeks of competition via the FIVB World Tour for the Copacabana quadrennial.
Mexico’s Lombardo Ontiveros (left) Juan Virgen after winning a bronze medal in Fortaleza, Brazil

SKIPPING TWO STOPS

With the Mexicans skipping the past two FIVB World Tour stops in Russia (Sochi) and Turkey (Antalya), both German pairs improved their Olympic ranking highlighted by Bockermann and Fluggen’s silver medal finish Sunday in the Turkish resort city on the Mediterranean coast.  However, the second-place finish came with a cost as swelling in Fluggen’s surgically-repaired left knee forced his team to forfeit the Antalya gold medal to Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins of Latvia.

As a result, Bockermann/Fluggen have withdrawn from the Cincinnati Open leave Ontiveros and Virgen to “duel” with Erdmann and Matysik at the Lindner Family Tennis Center this week.  Prior to the Sochi stop, the Mexicans had 4,430 Rio qualifying points for their best 12 finishes on the FIVB World Tour since the start of the Copacabana quadrennial process in April 2015.

Entering Sochi, Bockermann/Fluggen were 30 points behind the Mexicans with 4,400 points and the German team did not play due to Fluggen’s knee problems.  Erdmann and Matysik satisfied their Olympic participation requirement of playing in 12 FIVB World Tour and/or continental championships by placing ninth in Sochi to jump from 3,990 to 4,230 points on the Rio ranking list.

Bockermann and Fluggen’s Antalya silver medal finish moved the Germans ahead of Ontiveros and Virgen by 180 points (4,610 to 4,430) with Erdmann and Matysik finishing fifth to add 180 points to their total that now sits at 4,410 points.  In Cincinnati, the Mexicans have to reach the quarter-finals to improve their Olympic qualifying total while the Germans will pad their total by finishing 17th-or-higher.

If the AVP promoters of the Cincinnati Open wish for anything, it will be for the Mexicans to meet the Germans on the sand this week in an elimination match.  The FIVB World Tour series between the two teams is tied 1-1 with both matches being play last season.  After Erdmann and Matysik scored a 2-1 (19-21, 21-19, 15-12) pool play win May 27 at the Moscow Grand Slam, Ontiveros and Virgen ousted the Germans on United States sand in the first-round of bracket play June 19 at the St. Petersburg Grand Slam with a 2-1 (21-16, 16-21, 15-11) win in 54 minutes.
Germany’s Jonathan Erdmann (left) and Kay Matysik with their FIVB World Tour silver medal in Fortaleza

FIVB WORLD TOUR OLYMPIC QUALIFICATION

To qualify for the Olympics, a team must compete together in at least 12 FIVB World Tour events and/or recognized Continental championships from January 2015 through June 13, 2016.  A team’s best 12 finishes will be used to determine a tandem’s ranking.

Five pairs for each gender’s Olympic competition will qualify via Continental Cup action where each FIVB confederation is guaranteed a berth in the Rio 2016 Summer Games.  The last qualifying event will be July 6-10 when Russia hosts the FIVB World Continental Cup Olympic Qualification Tournament in Sochi.  The top two tandems from each gender from the Continental Cup qualifier will earn the last two pairs in the 24-team Olympic competitions.

BRAZILIAN BERTHS SECURED

Brazil has already qualified two teams in each gender’s competition for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.  Two pairs from the South American country captured the gold medals at the 2015 FIVB World Championships last July in The Hague (Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt and Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas) to secure Copacabana berths.  Being the host of the Rio Summer Games, Brazil was also guaranteed two teams in the 24-team men’s and women’s fields (Evandro Goncalves/Pedro Solberg and Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca).

With all that said, Brazilian pairs cannot qualify another team for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games through the FIVB World Tour.  Therefore, the ranking list excludes Brazilians in the ranking order as Talita/Larissa (6,940) and Agatha/Barbara (6,870) rank 1-2 on the women’s provisional list.  Alison/Bruno (7,050 points) and Evandro Pedro (6,130) are the top two teams on the men’s provisional points list for Rio.

EUROPEAN CONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

European players also can improve their Olympic point total at the CEV continental championships June 1-5 in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland.  A team can count their best finish from their continent’s championships during the Olympic qualifying period.

Both Bockermann/Fluggen and Erdman/Matysik are scheduled to compete in the event where quarter-final finishes for both teams could benefit their Rio ranking total.  Bockermann and Fluggen placed ninth in the 2015 CEV finale in Austria while Matysik missed the Klagenfurt event due to injuries.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

The last three FIVB World Tour stops during the qualifying process for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games are double gender tournaments highlighted by US$800,000 FIVB World Tour Grand Slam stop in Moscow followed by the newly-named Hamburg Major.

May 17-22 - Cincinnati (United States) Open
May 24-29 - Moscow (Russia) Grand Slam
June 7-12 - Hamburg (Germany) Major

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