FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour resumes at women’s FIVB Prague Open
After two season-opening tournaments in China, and one in Mexico, the FIVB World Tour returns to the Czech Republic for the fifth time overall and first time for a women’s tournament. The event will be held at Stvanice Stadium in Prague..
The third of 10 FIVB Open events in 2014, the FIVB Prague Open has women’s action running from Tuesday through Sunday. The tournament format has a one-day qualification tournament on Tuesday in to determine the final eight spots in each gender’s 32-team main draw tournaments followed by round-robin pool play and a single-elimination bracket for the final 24 teams. The women’s semifinals and medal matches will be held Sunday on the purpose-built Stvanice Stadium in Prague.
The FIVB World Tour has had four previous tour stops in the Czech Republic with Prague hosting men’s FIVB Open events in 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012.
A full field for the FIVB Prague Open includes 64-plus women’s teams from 28 countries selected by their national federations. The field includes several of the top up and coming teams from around the world.
After Prague, the FIVB World Tour continues its seven-event swing through Europe starting with next week’s double-gender $150,000 FIVB Anapa Open in Russia. After a one-week break, there are five more double-gender FIVB Grand Slams over six weeks with the FIVB Moscow Grand Slam in Russia (June 11-15), the FIVB Berlin Grand Slam in Germany (June 17-22), the FIVB Stavanger Grand Slam in Norway (June 24-28), the FIVB Gstaad Grand Slam in Switzerland (July 8-13) and finally the FIVB Transavia Grand Slam played in four different cities in the Netherlands (July 15-20) but based in The Hague.
The FIVB Grand Slams in Moscow, Berlin, Stavanger and Gstaad have purses of $800,000 each while the event in the Netherlands as an FIVB-record purse of $1 million.
FIVB WORLD TOUR LEADERS
The top three women’s FIVB World Tour point leaders and the top three women’s FIVB World Tour money leaders are among the favorites entered in the FIVB Prague Open. The women’s point leaders are Brazil’s Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas with 1,380 points while tied for second in points are Brazil’s Juliana Felisberta/Maria Antonelli and China’s Fan Wang/Yuan Yue, both with 1,260 points each. For the money leaders, on top is Germany’s Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst with $59,000 with China’s Wang/Yue second with $48,375 and Brazil’s Bednarczuk/Seixas third with $45,000.
TEAM CZECH REPUBLIC
As the host nation, the Czech Republic has three teams automatically pre-seeded into the main draw. For the women, the Czech Republic teams are Martina Bonnerova/Barbora Hermannova, Kristyna Kolocova/Marketa Slukova and Diana Zolnercikova/Martina Jakubsova. Additionally, the Czech Republic has three teams in the women’s qualification tournament - .Eliska Galova/Hana Tresnakova, Karolina Rehackova/Michala Kvapilova and Michaela Vorlova/Sarka Nakladalova.
After sitting out last year’s FIVB World Tour, Brazil’s iconic Juliana Felisberta Silva has returned to team with the very talented veteran Maria Antonelli. Juliana played domestically in 2013 following the retirement of her legendary teammate Larissa Franca with whom she won an unprecedented seven FIVB World Tour season point championships between 2005 and 2012 and the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships. Juliana/Antonelli have played in two qualification tournaments this year but have qualified for the main draw in Prague. Antonelli played last season with Agatha Bednarczuk and finished fifth in the FIVB World Rankings.
In the season-opening Fuzhou tournament, Juliana/Antonelli started in the qualification tournament, came out strong, finishing with an 8-2 overall record to earn the silver medal. In Shanghai the talented Brazilian duo finished in ninth place with a 4-2 record and in Puerto Vallarta two weeks ago, Juliana/Antonelli won the silver medal with a 6-1 tournament record.
The gold medal teams in the FIVB Prague Open will each split $11,000, the silver $8,000, the bronze $6,000 and fourth place $4,500. The women’s medal matches will be held on Sunday.
The FIVB Prague Open will be the 264th FIVB women’s tournament since FIVB began women’s competitions in 1992.
Based in Lausanne, Switzerland as the international governing body for the Olympic sports of Beach Volleyball and Volleyball, the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar features a record purse of US$10.2 million with a season that extends from late April to mid-December competing at 21 venues in 18 countries. This year’s FIVB World Tour includes a record 10 FIVB Grand Slam events, the inaugural Grand Slam Finale and 10 FIVB Open Tournaments throughout the world, helping expand the door for development of the sport even further.
The FIVB Grand Slam competitions, all double-gender, have eight with $800,000 in total purses while both The Hague, Netherlands and the Long Beach, Calif., USA event will have $1 million each in prize money, the most in FIVB Grand Slam history.
The 10 FIVB Open tournaments in 2014, seven double-gender, two men only and two women only, will have $150,000 total purses for the double gender events and $75,000 for the single-gender competitions.
As part of the initiatives of FIVB President Dr Ary S. Graça F° and his leadership team, the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball international calendar also includes a record four age-group FIVB World Championships along with the 2014 Nanjing (China) Youth Olympic Games (Aug. 17-27). The FIVB Beach Volleyball U17 World Championships (Acapulco, Mexico, July 15-20) will debut this year while the U23 FIVB World Championships (Myslowice, Poland, June 10-15) debuted in 2013. This year will mark the 14th annual U21 FIVB World Championships (Larnaka, Cyprus, July 23-27) and the 13th annual U19 FIVB World Championships (Porto, Portugal, July 29-Aug. 3).