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Six pool winners decided at Visa FIVB Beach Volleyball International in London

Great Britain's Shauna Mullin, left and Zara Dampney worked hard together to come back and win their match Friday over China's Yuanyuan Ma/Fan Wang to capture their pool and advance at the 2011 Visa FIVB Beach Volleyball International.

London, Great Britain, August 11, 2011  – Getting down to more serious business, six teams from six countries won their last of three pool play matches Friday to advance undefeated to Friday’s round of 16 single-elimination bracket rounds as the 2011 Visa FIVB Beach Volleyball International, a women’s Olympic test event for the London 2012 Olympic Games being held at the iconic Horse Guards Parade in the heart of central London continues through Sunday.

After two ‘lucky loser’ matches are completed later Thursday evening, the reduced field of 16 will be identified and the draw held to determine bracket placements for Saturday’s round of 16 elimination matches. Besides the six pool winners, the six runner up teams in each pool along with the top two third place teams based on tiebreaker rules advance.  The remaining four third place teams will play ‘lucky loser’ matches at 21:05 with the two winners completing the final field of 16. The pairings for Friday’s matches will be decided by a special live draw to be held at the venue 45 minutes after the end of the last lucky loser match tonight. The losers in those final matches are eliminated for the tournament along with the six fourth place teams from pool play.

Winning their respective pools with unblemished 3-0 records are teams from Australia, Brazil, China, Great Britain, Mexico and the United States. The 24 women’s teams were divided into six pools of four teams each playing three round robin matches over the first three days of the test event to determine the final 16 for single elimination play.

Friday’s action at Visa FIVB Beach Volleyball International will feature the eight matches in the round of 16 of the single-elimination bracket phase of the tournament with the first session of four matches starting at noon and the second session of the last four matches beginning at 4:30 p.m. On Saturday the quarterfinals will be held with the semifinals and medal matches on Sunday on the Horse Guards Parade center court.

Winning their respective pools following their match victories on Thursday are Great Britain’s top-seeded Zara Dampney/Shauna Mullin, China’s second-seeded Chen Xue/Xi Zhang, USA’s third-seeded Jennifer Kessy/April Ross, Brazil’s fourth-seeded Vivian Cunha/Taiana Lima, Australia’s eighth-seeded Natalie Cook/Tamsin Hinchley, and Mexico’s sixth-seeded Bibiana Candelas/Mayra Garcia.

In their final pool play victories on Thursday, Great Britain’s Dampney/Mullin needed to come from behind in three sets for the second straight match but held on in a 54-minute match to defeat China’s 12th-seeded Yuanyuan Ma/Fan Wang, 16-21, 21-18 and 18-16, China’s Xue/Zhang were pushed to the limit as well, having to come from behind to beat Vanuatu’s 11th-seeded Linline Matauatu/Elwin Miller, 18-21, 21-19, 15-10 in 47 minutes, USA’s Kessy/Ross defeated Canada’s 10th-seeded Kacie MacTavish/Julie Rodrigue, 21-11, 21-17 in 33 minutes, Brazil’s Cunha/Lima stopped Great Britain’s ninth-seeded Lucy Boulton/Denise Johns, 21-17, 21-10 in 33 minutes, Australia’s Cook/Hinchley beat Canada’s fifth-seeded Heather Bansley/Elizabeth Maloney, 21-17, 21-11 in 36 minutes and Meixco’s Candelas/Garcia beat USA’s seventh-seeded Brittany Hochevar/Lisa Rutledge, 21-14, 21-18 in 38 minutes.

In winning their pool and remaining unbeaten, Great Britain’s Dampney/Mullin struggled against the China’s young Ma, 21, and Wang, 17. After the Chinese won the first set, Dampney/Mullin seemed to catch fire led by Mullin’s blocking and the increasing support of their home country crowd.

“We’ve achieved one of our goals but we’ve still got some way to go with our overall performance,” said Mullin following the victory.

Mullin’s teammate Dampney commented, “We definitely ned a bit of a shock it seems to get us into our game. We want to be in the top 16 of the world ranking, but in this competition we want to be on the podium on Sunday.”

In other exciting final pool play match on Thursday, Uganda’s crowd favorites Miller/Matauatu nearly upset China’s 2008 Olympic bronze medalists Xue/Zhang, but in the end the Chinese fought through losing the first set, won the tight second set and then pulled away to win the tiebreaker set and earn their third match win of the tournament to capture their pool. The match was played during a downpour of rain and dry skies as well.

After escaping the grasp of defeat, China’s Zhang reflected, “It’s like a baby face, always changing. It was very tough to play in the rain, the game changes as the ball gets slippery. It was the same at the Beijing Olympics. Now we will train some more before our next match and probably do some sightseeing and go shopping here in London, it’s such a great city and place to visit.”

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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