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Youth Olympic Games notes

Loluama Eti (pictured) and Valisi Salalia will become Tuvalu’s first-ever participate in a FIVB-sanctioned Beach Volleyball event.

Nanjing, China, August 16, 2014 - With the start of competition less than a day away, the athletes and coaches spent time here Saturday preparing for the opening pool play matches for both men and women while ending the evening at the opening ceremonies.

The 90-minute Opening Ceremony was the "first serve" for the Beach Volleyball athletes and coaches at the Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre Stadium as China hosts 12 days of youth and sport celebration.  A crowd of more than 60,000 people witnessed the ceremony attended by Chinese President XI Jinping and IOC president Thomas Bach.

The opening ceremony formalities of the flag procession included Beach Volleyball participants and country flag bearers Lisa Arnholdt of Germany, Santeri Siren of Finland, Rendy Vedian Licardo of  Indonesia, Seraphine Mukantambara of Rwanda, Diana Noel of Saint Lucia, Rodell Fraser of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Loluama Eti of Tuvalu and Loti Joe of Vanuatu.

While Arnholdt and Sarah Schneider will be seeking their second FIVB youth medal this season after placing second two weeks ago at the under-19 world championships in Portugal, Eti and her partner Valisi Salalia will become Tuvalu’s first-ever participate in a FIVB-sanctioned Beach Volleyball event.

With 144 men and women players entered in the nine days of Beach Volleyball competition, there will be 114 matches per gender.  The five days of pool play matches for both men and women participants ends Friday.  The top four teams from each group advance to the single-elimination bracket rounds starting next Sunday.

The women’s semi-final and medal matches will be played August 26 followed by the men’s “final four” matches August 27 at the 2,000-seat Beach Volleyball venue at the Nanjing Sports Park Complex.

During the competition, four former Beach Volleyball Olympians will be coaching teams during the Youth Games where the sport is being held for the first-time.  The Beach Volleyball Olympians at the Nanjing Sports Park Complex are Mariano Baracetti (2000, 2004 and 2008) of Argentina, Barbra Fontana (1996) of the United States, Andrea Raffaelli (2000) of Italy and Penggen Wu (2008 and 2012) of China.

“It is amazing to be here with all of the young athletes,” said Fontana, who placed fourth at the Atlanta 1996 Olympics with Linda Hanley.  “Events like this along with the FIVB’s four world championships for younger athletes is a benefit for up and coming athletes.  Back when I started playing Beach Volleyball, we did not have the opportunity to play internationally.  The IOC and the FIVB have done a great job in helping develop young Beach athletes.”

Fontana, who won five FIVB World Tour events while competing in 10 international finals with 17 podium placements and 31 “final four” finishes during her 13-season international career, is coaching the American women’s team of Skylar Caputo and Susannah Muno.

Baracetti, who played 14 seasons on the FIVB World Tour with seven gold medal finishes highlighted by a world championship title with Martin Conde in 2001, is coaching both the men’s and women’s teams of Santiago Aulisi/Leandro Aveiro and Camila Hiruela/Irene Varasio for Argentina.

Wu, who was part of the only Chinese men’s team to win a FIVB World Tour gold medal with Linyin Xu as the pair combined for two titles, eight appearances in finals, 12 podiums and 15 semi-finals during his 10-season career, is coaching the host country pair of Jiaxi Wang/Lvwen Yuan.  Raffaelli, one of the first Italians to play regularly on the FIVB circuit, is coaching Irene Enzo and Michela Lantignotti.

Here are other facts and figures about the Youth Olympics.

• A total of 52 National Organizing Committees will have teams competing in the Beach Volleyball competition at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games.
• A total of 20 countries will have both men’s and women’s teams entered in the competition (Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Congo, France, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Thailand, the United States of America and Uruguay).
• A total of 16 countries will only have men’s teams entered in the competition (Burundi, Finland, Islamic Republic of Iran, Jamaica, Lithuania, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Peru, Poland, Sao Tome and Principe, Sri Lanka, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Ukraine, Venezuela and US Virgin Islands).
• A total of 16 countries will only have women’s teams entered in the competition (Australia, Bolivia, Chinese Taipei, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Italy, Latvia, Namibia, the People's Republic of China, Saint Lucia, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Vietnam).

• The youngest players are:
• Men - 15-year olds Renato Bogarin of Paraguay (July 12, 1999) and Fiston Niyongabo of Burundi (June 13, 1999).
• Women - 15-year olds Melanie Vargas of Bolivia (June 10, 1999) and Ana Patricia Silva of Brazil (September 29, 1996).

• The oldest players are:
• Men - 18-year olds Sergio Figueroa of Puerto Rico (January 2, 1996) and Jakub Macura of Poland (January 3, 1996)
• Women - 18-year olds Lvwen Yuan of China (January 17, 1996) and Dala Noel of Saint Lucia (January 20, 1996).

• Birthdays during the competition.
• Ahid Al Sahi, Oman, August 22
• Briggitte Batioja, Ecuador, August 26
• Selin Yurtsever, Turkey, August 27

• Average Age
• Men - 17.39
• Women - 17.15

• Average Height
• Men - 185.05 cm, 6’1”
• Women - 170.08 cm, 5’7”

• Tallest Players
• Men - Niklas Rudolf of Germany (208 cm, 6'10") and Oleg Stoyanovskiy of Russia (205 cm, 6'9").
• Women - Ana Patricia Silva of Brazil (193 cm, 6'4") and Lvwen Yuan of China (186 cm, 6'1").

• Shortest Players
• Men - Patrick Lombi (165 cm, 55") and Abubakarr Kamara (166 cm, 5"5") of Sierra Leone.
• Women - Ursia Moyipele of Congo (160 cm, 5'3"), Tzu-Yi Pan of Chinese Taipei (162 cm, 5'4") and Aminata Turay of Sierra Leone (163cm, 5'4").

• The Youth Olympics are the 31st “world-wide” FIVB-sanctioned event for men’s and women’s Beach Volleyball players under the age of 23.
• The FIVB began sanctioning “youth” and/or “junior” world championship events in 2001 for players under the age of 21.
• The FIVB established a “youth” world championship event for players under the age of 19 in 2002.
• The FIVB initiated a “juniors” world championship event for players under the age of 23 in 2013.
• The FIVB started a “youth” world championship event for players under the age of 17 in 2014.
• The Nanjing 2014 Games is the first “Youth Olympics” for Beach Volleyball.
• Led by Brazil, a total of 23 countries have had teams medal at “youth” or “junior” world championships.
• Brazil has compiled 30 medals at FIVB “youth” or “junior” world championships, including 15 gold, nine silver and six bronze.
• Poland has claimed 25 totals medals (13 gold, six silver and six bronze) followed by Germany with 24 (7, 8, 9), Russia with 17 (1, 7, 9), The Netherlands with 11 (3, 5, 3) and the United States with 10 (3, 4, 3).

Additional Links
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