Beach Volleyball’s year of change
“The Beach Volleyball Continental Cup opened the eyes of many administrators and players for the first time to what can be achieved with vision, great organisation and determination. This example can now be used in other areas of our work,” President Graça said in his end of year message. “We have already expressed a new philosophy for beach volleyball in 2013 with the season promising to feature a record number of tournaments - a true year-long season - with new host countries. This is all due to the fact that we now have the opportunity to be open-minded and entertain new ideas.”
Just like volleyball, beach volleyball boasts an exciting 2013 calendar.
Although the precise calendar is expected to be confirmed later in January, this year’s action will definitely headlined by the FIVB Beach Volleyball Championships to be held in Stare Jablonki, Poland from July 1-7. The biennial event will see the crème-de-la-crème of international volleyball battling it out for the premier title in international beach volleyball. After the last edition in Rome in 2013, all eyes are on Stare Jablonki – a regular Grand Slam event – to see how far they can raise the bar to another level. Some of the star teams from 2012 will no longer be with us but that will not diminish what is the pinnacle for many.
The beach volleyball season will start with the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Cup Final, which is due to be held in the first part of the year in Brazil. The World Cup Final brings to a close the incredible successful first Continental Cup cycle, featuring the Continental champions and countries who qualified to teams to the Olympic Games.
Although this completes the first edition of the Continental Cup it will also kick start another exciting FIVB beach volleyball season with the World Tour set to capitalise on the tremendous momentum of the past year. The new approach by the FIVB World Tour Council will create new opportunities for players through a potentially record-breaking FIVB beach volleyball calendar in 2013. This will come partially from a reduction in approval criteria for FIVB Open events.
Starting in 2013, Grand Slams will be clearly established as the core events while the number of Open events will be expanded, giving teams more opportunities and options to participate. New countries, such as Peru, Qatar and Uganda, are expected to host FIVB Open events for the first time while USA could potentially be welcomed back for the first time since 2004 as part of a calendar likely to cover nine months of the year (March to December) and all five confederations. The success of the Continental Cup, which involved 149 countries over the two year programme, has encouraged many national federations to participate in other FIVB events setting things up for a landmark year for the World Tour in 2013.
Just like volleyball, a new Under 23 World Championship will also be launched in 2013 alongside the traditional Under 21 and Under 19 events in order to give opportunities to the growing number of players on the international circuit.
A change of scene for beach volleyball in 2013, which certainly bodes well for a very bright future for the sport for many years ahead.