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Nicolai/Lupo ones to beat in Xiamen

Italy's Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo are back in action in Xiamen after taking silver at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games

Xiamen, China, April 19, 2017 – The FIVB World Tour returns to Xiamen for a fifth consecutive year with the double – gender FIVB Xiamen 3-Star event from April 20-23. Eyes will be on Rio Olympic silver medallists Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo from Italy among a strong field of contenders.

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Challenging Nicolai/Lupo and making their 2017 debut is Rio 2016 bronze medallists Dutch pair Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen. Both teams stood on the Xiamen podium in 2013 with Brouwer/Meeuwsen winning silver and Nicolai/Lupo taking bronze.

Three Russian teams will contend in Xiamen, with Nikita Liamin and Viacheslav Krasilinikov who paired up for the first time at the beginning of 2017, proving their strength together winning in Kish Island in February.

Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Artem Yarzutkin also had a podium finish in Kish Island taking bronze and compete in the Xiamen tournament for the first time. Bykanov/Koshkarev make their first appearance of the year.  

Just one month prior to Xiamen, the top two positions of the Shepparton podium were taken by Australian men McHugh/Schumann and Durant/Schubert. Isaac Kapa will also be back in action in Xiamen alongside new partner Tim Dickson after becoming established on the World Tour with long term teammate, McHugh.

New partnerships are also seen in Alexander Huber who appears in Xiamen for his first tournament with new partner Lorenz Petutschnig, after teaming with Robert Seidl since 2009.  Seidl will also compete in Xiamen with Tobias Winter.

A pair beginning to make their mark on the international circuit is Sergio Reynaldo Gonzalez Bayard and Diaz Gomez Nivaldo Nadir who come straight off the back of a win at the FIVB World Tour 1-star Langkawi event.  

China will be represented by the nations strongest male pairing Likejiang Ha/Jian Bao. Li Zhuoxin/Zhou Chaowei will also feature in their first ever FIVB World Tour.

The men’s competition gets underway in Xiamen with the qualification tournament on April 20. Israel’s Sean Faiga and Ariel Hilman top the teams vying for a position in the main draw and they will face Brazilian team Oscar/Hevaldo.

Brazilian teams top women’s tournament

Brazilian women make up the dominant teams in Xiamen, with four pairs making the trip east, Josi/Lili, Barbara/Fernanda, Juliana/Caro and Maria Antonelli/Carol Horta. Numerous changes can be seen within the Brazilian pairings for the 2017 season, notably Rio 2016 silver medallist Barbara Seixas De Freitas now playing alongside Fernanda Alves.