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Ten teams undefeated at Visa FIVB Beach Volleyball International

Brazil's Angela Viera hovers above the Horse Guards Parade centre court sand as she and Liliane Maestrini won their second pool play match in three sets Wednesday at the Visa FIVB Beach Volleyball International in London.

London, Great Britain, August 10, 2011 – Soaking in the sun of another pleasant British summer day, 24 women’s beach volleyball teams from 15 countries played the second of three pool play matches Wednesday on the center court at iconic Horse Guards Parade as play continues at the Visa FIVB Beach Volleyball International, a 24-team women’s test event for the London 2012 Olympic games.

Visa FIVB Beach Volleyball International
London, Great Britain | August 9-14
Olympic Test Event: 

After the first 24 pool-play matches, nine duos from eight countries are undefeated heading into Thursday’s final round of round-robin play.

Leading their respective pools with unblemished 2-0 records are two teams from China and one each from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Great Britain, Mexico, Vanuatu and the United States. The 24 teams in the women’s teams have been divided into six pools of four teams each playing three round robin matches over the first three days of the test event.

Thursday’s action at Visa FIVB Beach Volleyball International will feature the last 12 matches of 36 pool play, round-robin action to determine the 16 teams that will advance to the single-elimination bracket phase of the tournament. On Friday, the round of 16 matches will be played with the quarterfinals on Saturday and semifinals and medal matches on Sunday on the Horse Guards Parade center court.

Leading their pools with 2-0 records are China’s 12th-seeded Yuanyuan Ma/Fan Wang (Pool A), China’s second-seeded Chen Xue/Xi Zhang (Pool B), USA’s third-seeded Jennifer Kessy/April Ross (Pool C), Great Britain’s ninth-seeded Lucy Boulton/Denise Johns (Pool D), Australia’s eighth-seeded Natalie Cook/Tamsin Hinchley (Pool E), and Mexico’s sixth-seeded Bibiana Candelas/Mayra Garcia (Pool F).

Also undefeated with 2-0 marks but second in their respective pools by way of tiebreaker rules are, Great Britain’s top-seeded Zara Dampney/Shauna Mullin (Pool A), Vanuatu’s 11th-seeded Linline Matauatu/Elwin Miller (Pool B), Brazil’s fourth-seeded Vivian Cunha/Taiana Lima (Pool D) and Canada’s fifth-seeded Heather Bansley/Elizabeth Maloney (Pool E).

With both of Great Britain’s teams 2-0, they are both virtually guaranteed spots in the final 16 elimination rounds. Concluding the evening’s matches Wednesday was a stirring three-set come-from-behind win by Britain’s Dampney/Mullin over Puerto Rico’s Dariam Acevedo/Yarleen Santiago, 17-21, 24-22 and 16-14 in 56 minutes, the longest match of the second day.  In the stirring third set, Dampney/Mullin trailed 3-8 and never led until the closing points when they earned the overtime victory.

“The FIVB is extremely encouraged with everything concerned with this Olympic beach volleyball test event,” said Vicente Araujo of Portugal, secretary of the FIVB Beach Volleyball Commission and FIVB technical delegate at this week’s Olympic test event here in London. “The venue at Horse Guards Parade is truly unbelievable, here in historic central London. The technology side and the managers, supervisors and operations staff are all doing such a remarkable job it gives us great confidence that out sport at the London 2012 Olympics will be the most memorable one yet.”

Starting at 10 a.m. Thursday with the morning session and continuing through the afternoon/evening session starting at 4:30 p.m.  Matches scheduled for the morning session are Spain’s 17th-seeded Andrea Garcia Gonzalo/Alejandra Simon vs. Malaysia’s 20th-seeded Beh Shun Thing/Luk Teck Hua, Canada’s Bansley/Maloney vs. Austrailia’s Cook/Hinchley, Mexico’s Candelas/Garcia vs. USA’s seventh-seeded Brittany Hochevar/Lisa Rutledge, China’s 18th-seeded Jingjing Ding/Changning Zhang vs. Brazil’s 19th-seeded Liliane Maestrini/Angela Vieira, Greece’s 14th-seeded JoAnna Papageorgiou/Christina Roubanis vs. Netherland’s 23rd-seeded Jolien Sinnema/Margo Wiltens and China’s Xue/Zhang vs. Vanuatu’s Matauatu/Miller.

In the Thursday afternoon/evening session, scheduled to play are Great Britain’s Dampney/Mullin vs. China’s Ma/Wang, Puerto Rico’s 13th-seeded Dariam Acevedo/Yarleen Santiago vs. Australia’s 24th-seeded Taliqua Clancy/Eliza Hynes, Estonia’s 15th-seeded Anu Ennok/Mari-Liis Graumann vs. Uganda’s 22nd-seeded Josephine Nammanda/Alice Okecho, USA’s Kessy/Ross vs. Canada’s 10th-seeded Kacie MacTavish/Julie Rodrigue, Canada’s 16th-seeded Jamie Broder/Ashley Voth vs. USA’s 21st-seeded Tealle Hunkus/Heather Lowe and Brazil’s Cunha/Lima vs. Great Britain’s Boulton/Johns.

Celebrating with her home-country fans following their win over USA, Great Britain’s Johns commented, “The wind was a bit gusty out there so we had to focus.  We started off well, dipped in the middle and then we came back. It’s going to be a tough match again Brazil tomorrow. We need to maintain what we’re doing.”

Reflecting as well on the match and the atmosphere, Johns’ teammate Boulton said, “It was a tough first set. By winning tonight, we’ll definitely be through the pool and it puts us in a good position. We are loving being able to play here in London. It’s fantastic to see the London Eye behind us it’s great to be out here. Looking around and seeing these iconic buildings, you can’t really get better. It’s extra special because it’s our home.”
Commenting on her team’s second pool play win, China’s Xue, who with teammate Zhang won the bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics stated, “We performed better today than yesterday because we are more familiar with the sand. We played with more confidence today. Yeserday the san felt a bit loose but now we’ve gotten used to it so we can control our jumping better.”

One of the surprise teams in London has been Vanuatu’s Miller/Matauatu, who are 2-0, but second to China’s Xue/Zhang in their pool on tiebreakers. Following her team’s second win on Wednesday, Miller said, “It was an interesting match today. We lost a match point in the second set, the Dutch team came back and played very well, but we tried our best and were fortunate to win the match. We’ve spoken to our family since we’ve been in London and it’s really nice and encouraging to hear how proud they are of us.”

When pool play is finished Thursday, the top two teams from each of the six, four-team pools will advance to the single-elimination bracket rounds with the final 16 teams. Completing the field will be the top two third place teams and then two matches will be held between the other four third-place teams from pool play with the two winners gaining ‘lucky loser’ spots in the elimination rounds.

Many of the teams participating in this week’s London event are regulars on the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour calendar that features 15 women's and 14 men's events, including 12 double-gender tournaments, within all five FIVB confederations plus this one special 24-team single-gender women’s test event being held through Sunday at London’s Horse Guards Parade, the venue for beach volleyball at the 2012 London Olympic Games. The 2011 FIVB Swatch World Tour is offering $7.64-million in prize money. Twelve of the tournaments are combined men's and women's events, including the World Championships and all six Grand Slam stops.

Being presented by the London 2012 Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) in collaboration with the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball, based in Lausanne, Switzerland, and the British Volleyball Federation, the Visa FIVB Beach Volleyball International Olympic test event carries with it a special $10,000 total purse.

The venue for this event features a 1,500-seat centre court, but for next August’s London 2012 Olympics a massive 15,000-seat stadium will be built. The event is part of the London Prepares series that features test events for several Olympic sports.

For more information on the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour, please visit or visit the event website at

  Press Contact - FIVB Press Director Richard Baker,
Email:     Mobile. + 41 79 603 3926 or +44 7714 537 400

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