Chinese women want more in London Olympics
London, Great Britain, July 25, 2012 – Four years ago at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, they were the number two women’s beach volleyball team for China, not ranked among the medal favorites, yet felt the intense pressure of competing in their home country and as developing young players surprised many by earning the women’s Olympic bronze medal.
Starting Saturday at the iconic Horse Guards Parade stadium in central London, China’s Chen Xue/Xi Zhang will have a reversed role of being a veteran team at the peak of their career and a definite favorite to win a medal in the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Launching the fifth Olympics that will feature beach volleyball as a medal sport, China’s Xue, 23 and Zhang, 27 will be a much more seasoned team than the youngsters who captured much of the Beijing spotlight with their stunning bronze medal victory. At 9 a.m. on Saturday, the first whistle will blow to herald the first serve to officially begin the beach volleyball competition of the XXX Olympiad, China’s Xue/Zhang, seeded second in this year’s Olympics, will meet Russia’s 23rd-seeded Anastasia Vasina/Anna Vozakova in the first of three pool play matches.
With three women’s events remaining on this FIVB SWATCH World Tour, China Xue/Zhang qualified for the Olympics through the Olympic rankings based on the world tour. Russia’s Vasina/Vozakova earned their spot with a victory in the inaugural FIVB World Cup Olympic Qualification Tournament.
China’s Xue/Zhang have been preparing for four years for this event and to help that preparation they have played in 76 events on the FIVB SWATCH World Tour . In that run, they have earned a spot in the final four 41 teams, earning 12 gold medals, 12 silver, 11 bronze and six fourth place finishes.
The tandems in London have been split equally into six pools, playing each team in their group, with the top two advancing to the single-elimination knockout phase along with the two best third-placed teams. The remaining four third-place teams will then compete in playoff matches to determine which pairs will fill the final two places in the 16-team eliminaation bracket’s first round.
Following her team’s practice in the Horse Guards Parade complex, Xue said, “It is different this year because we are not a home team now. This means we don’t have the pressue of being at home for something as important as the Olympic Games. We are a lot more relaxed now than in Beijing. Horse Guards Parade is just perfect. It’s totally different from last year (at the beach volleyball test event in August). This stadium is huge and the venue is just so beautiful and amazing. We just want to play hard, have fun and do the best we can and if we do, we are confident we will be in the gold medal hunt.”
Sixteen teams have qualified for the Games through the Olympic Ranking which is based primarily on world tour standings, with five more joining as winners of the AVC, CAVB, CEV, CSV and NORCECA Continental Cup Finals and two from the World Cup Olympic Qualification Tournament. Great Britain has also been granted a berth as hosts.
The sold-out beach volleyball competition at the 2012 London Olympic Games will be held Saturday through Aug. 9 in a purpose-built 15,000-set stadium on the grounds of the iconic Horse Guards Parade in central London.
Following are the pool assignments for this year’s beach volleyball competition at the Olympic Games:
2012 Olympic Games Beach Volleyball
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