Larnaka, Cyprus, July 11, 2012—Playing the first one of three main draw pool play matches Wednesday, the world’s best young women’s tandems are enjoying the Larnaka sunshine, warm summer breezes and the heated competition at the 2012 FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH Youth World Championships, the 11th annual event for players under 19, which is being held through Saturday in a special purpose-built complex featuring the stadium center court at Finikoudes Beach.
With 32 teams divided into eight four-team pools, 15 teams are 1-0 after the first day of pool play. Finishing undefeated after the first day of pool play are teams from Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, host country Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Switzerland, Thailand and the United States. Admission to the event is free for the entire week at the Finikoudes complex. A total of 63 teams (32 men and 31 women) from 34 countries are in Cyprus at the 2012 FIVB SWATCH Youth World Championships.
Round-robin pool play concludes on Thursday with two days of single-elimination bracket play on Friday and Saturday. The semifinals will be played Saturday morning and the medal matches for each gender will be played on Saturday night on the Larnaka center court. The top three teams in each of the eight pools will advance to the single-elimination ‘knockout rounds’ on the weekend. The men will play one pool play match on Thursday while the women will play twice.
Undefeated so far in pool play after winning their first matches Wednesday were: Australia’s ninth-seeded Jessyka Ngauamo/Rebecca Reeve, Austria’s fourth-seeded Nadine Strauss/Teresa Strauss, Brazil’s 10th-seeded Drussyla Felix/Eduarda Santos, Canada’s 17th-seeded Tiadora Miric/Alexandra Wooley, host country Cyprus’ sixth-seeded Mary Nehmeh/Anthi Parla, Czech Republic’s 13th-seeded Barbora Pilatova/Hana Tresnakova, Germany’s seventh-seeded Sandra Ittlinger/Yanina Weiland, Kazakhstan’s 14th-seeded Yekaterina Lassyuta/Alexandra Varassova, Lithuania’s 18th-seeded Ieva Dumbauskaite/Monika Porilaityte, Netherlands’11th-seeded Marloes Hesselink/Joy Stubbe, Poland’s second-seeded defending FIVB SWATCH Youth World Champions Karolina Baran/Katarzyna Kociolek, Russia’s 12th-seeded Ksenia Dabizha/Anna Gorbunova, Switzerland’s third-seeded Nina Betschart/Nicole Eiholzer, Thailand’s 28th-seeded Kitja Khantharak/Ariya Laoseanogsa and USA’s eighth-seeded Sara Hughes/Justine Wong-Orantes.
As host country Cyprus’ Antonia Theoti/Zoi Konstantopoulou received a bye in the first round of pool play Wednesday as a team did not show up and will play their final two pool play matches on Thursday.
Countries represented in Larnaka for the 11th anniversary of this event are Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Namibia, Netherlands, Niger, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Peru, Russia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, and the United States.
The 2012 FIVB SWATCH Youth World Champions in each gender will be rewarded a “wild card” by the FIVB for a future FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour event during the final months of 2012 or during the 2013 season.
At last year’s FIVB SWATCH Youth World Championships in Umag, Croatia, a pair of Polish teams, Lukasz Kaczmarek/Macjej Kosiak and Karolina Baran/Katarzyna Kociolek won their respective gold medals to help Poland increase their overall event-leading country medal count. Poland joins Germany (2003 in Pattaya, Thailand) as the only countries to capture the gold medal in both genders in the same year in the event’s first decade.
Poland’s 2011 women’s champions, Baran/Kociolek, are back to defend their title and Poland’s Lukasz Kaczmarek returns but his teammate this year will be Sebastian Kaczmarek (no relation). Overall, among the women’s field five teams and six other individuals return from last year’s field in Umag and for the men, one team and six other individual players from last year are in this year’s field in Larnaka.
After staging three FIVB Challenger events (2006, 2007, 2008) Cyprus has again returned to the world stage as Larnaka, a popular tourist destination, is hosting the 2012 FIVB SWATCH Youth World Championships for players under the age of 19. This year’s 11th annual double-gender event started Wednesday and will conclude Saturday.
Larnaka is a city of 72,000 located on the Southern Coast of Cyprus and third largest city in the island country in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Larnaka is the second largest commercial port on the island nation and a very important tourist destination.
More information is available on the event including live scoring from center court matches is available at www.fivb.org.
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