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European Snow Volleyball Tour stop puts tiny Liechtenstein on map

Malbun in tiny Liechtenstein ready to host the penultimate stop of the European Snow Volleyball Tour.
Malbun, Liechtenstein, March 31, 2017 - Liechtenstein may be one of the smallest countries in the world, but is about to appear on the international snow volleyball map as one of the few pioneer nations to have organized a professional tournament in the new sport on its territory when the 2017 CEV Snow Volleyball European Tour visits the tiny Alpine village of Malbun this weekend for its sixth and penultimate stop of the season.

"We are very happy to have this tournament here,” commented Philippe Schürmann, President of the Liechtenstein Volleyball Federation. “It will be an important learning experience for us. Despite the not so favourable snow conditions we have had in Liechtenstein recently, we mixed in natural and artificial snow and have enough for a nice competition this weekend."

"I am very happy that we have a men’s pair representing our country at the tournament. They are the 2015 beach volleyball gold medallists from the Games of the Small States of Europe, so we expect them to do well on the snow as well,” Schürmann added. “In the women’s tournament we will also see one of the indoor players from the best club in our country, VBC Galina Schaan. Jekaterina Stepanova will represent her country Latvia, but she is our girl and we will keep our fingers crossed for her team. I hope we get a lot of spectators like we usually do at our CEV Beach Volleyball Satellite in Vaduz, which was voted the best sports event in our country for the last ten years."

Liechtenstein and Latvia are among the seven countries to be represented at the tournament in Malbun. A total of 27 teams have signed up to battle for continental honours on Liechtenstein snow with pairs from the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Romania and Switzerland also taking part in the competition.

With the support of the home crowd, the Liechtensteiners Manuel Gahr/Maximilian von Deichmann will make their country’s debut on the European Tour, but not completely without experience on the snow. Just a week ago von Deichmann played at the strong Snow Volleyball Goes Europe tournament in Austria and with his German partner Johannes Kessler made an impressive run all the way to the semifinals.

The men’s tournament in Malbun is expected to deliver very high-level snow volleyball as some very strong teams have registered to participate. The main draw will be headed by some of the Polish regulars on the Tour – top-seeded Michal Matyja/Piotr Janiak and second-seeded Piotr Groszek/Tomasz Cwiertnia. Seed #3 goes to the Swiss duo composed of Raphael Zurgilgen and Christian Busin, silver and bronze medallists, respectively, from the stop in Disentis three weeks ago. One of the big international stars of Swiss beach volleyball, Philip Gabathuler, will also be in Malbun, making his debut on the Tour in partnership with another big name from the sand - Alexei Strasser.

The CEV Snow Volleyball European Ranking leaders Anna Dostalova/Michaela Knoblochova from the Czech Republic, who have medalled at all of their last four appearances on the European Tour and won gold at Snow Volleyball Goes Europe in Austria last weekend, are coming to Malbun as the top-seeded team in the women’s tournament. The four duos will first play each other in a single round robin on Saturday to shape up the fixtures for Sunday’s semifinals.

"It is a big pleasure for us to be here in the mountains of this beautiful small country Liechtenstein,” said Veit Manninger, Managing Director at Chaka2, the company that has been promoting snow volleyball since 2009 and is organising five of the seven stops on the 2017 CEV European Tour. “Since the very moment their federation heard about snow volleyball, they have been completely convinced that they want to hold a stop on the CEV Snow Volleyball European Tour. They have this spectacular place to host the event and now we are here. I am convinced that snow volleyball is the kind of sport that creates great opportunities for small countries like Liechtenstein that have venues like this one to excel as organizers at the international level. We expect perfect weather for the weekend and good players on the snow courts and everything is prepared for a top-quality tournament."

The competition will start with the first women’s matches at 09:15 on Saturday morning to be followed by the first games in the men’s double-elimination format at 09:45.

For more detailed information on the European Tour, visit SnowVolleyball.com and CEV's dedicated page.

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