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Asian Beach Volleyball Tour Khanom Open starts in Thailand

Thailand 1's Varapatsorn Radarong/Tanarattha Udomchawee were strong against Hong Kong 2
Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand, April 9, 2013 – The 4th Khanom-Chang Asian Beach Volleyball Tour Khanom Open kicked off at Nadan Beach in Khanom, Nakhon Si Thammarat, on Tuesday.

The three-day competition features 27 men's and 19 women's teams from 14 nations, vying for the top honours in their divisions and prize money totaling $30,000.

Points from continental and national tours contribute towards national federation rankings for the international beach volleyball season where the distribution of vacancies at Open and Grand Slams are based on federation ranking points which take into consideration the best six-out- of-the-last-eight results dating back 365 days on a player by player basis for the respective country.

Players from China, Kazakhstan, Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, India, Oman, Qatar and hosts Thailand participated in the team briefing and draw on Monday. 

The men's teams are divided into eight pools from A to H, with defending champions and top-seeds Alexandr Dyachenko/Alexey Sidorenko of Kazakhstan 1 pitted against Japan 1's Yoshiumi Hasegawa/Yuya Ageba and China 2's Li Lei/Gong Houcai in Pool A.

Thailand 2’s Chutipong Sukarayotin/Chanchai Nakprakon are in Pool B with Sri Lanka 1’s Pubudu Kumara Ekanayaka Ekanayakage/Sameera Sandaruwan Rathnapala Bombuwala Dewage and Kazakhstan 2’s Dmitriy Yakovlev/Alexey Sidorenko, runners-up at the previous meet. 

Thailand 1’s Sittichai Sanghachot/Prathip Sukto join Vietnam 1’s Nguyen Trong Quoc/Nguyen Thanh Vinh and Japan 2’s Shinya Hata/Yasuo Nakaya in Pool D.

In the women’s category, Varapatsorn Radarong and Tanarattha Udomchavee of Thailand 1 will compete against New Zealand’s Julia Margaret Tilley/Shaunna Marie Polley and Hong Kong 2’s Yan Lo Wai/Mei Yeung Yeuk in Pool A. Jarunee Sannok/Usa Tenpaksee will take on Singapore’s Hui Sai Feng/Huang Zihui and Vietnam 1’s Truong Thi Yen/Nguyen Thi Mai in Pool D. 

“To stand a better chance of competing in future major tournaments including the Olympics and the World Championships, beach volleyball players have to sharpen their skills in as many competitions as possible,” said Shanrit Wongprasert, Director of the Thailand Volleyball Association and an FIVB Board Member. “This is not only for them to gain valuable experience, but also to collect individual points for their Asian and world rankings.

 “This year, those who need to take part in major events are competing in the Khanom Open and next week’s Samila Open in Songkhla Province. The two tournaments will serve as a stepping stone for future major competitions.” 

Nakhon Si Thammarat Gov. Viroj Jiwarangsan presided over the opening ceremony Tuesday afternoon. 

In Tuesday’s preliminaries, Vietnam 1’s Nguyen Trong Quoc/Nguyen Thanh Vinh overcame Thailand 1’s Sittichai and Prathip 21-16, 21-15, but luck was still with Thailand when they found their form to beat Japan 2's Hata/Nakaya in straight sets (21-16, 21-17).

Thailand 2's Chutipong and Chanchai also made a dismal start when they went down to Sri Lanka 1's Kumara Ekanayaka and Pradeep Kumara 15-21 18-21. Yakovlev and Kuleshov then beat them 21-15, 21-18.    

The hosts’ women’s teams fared much better. Hot favourites Varapatsorn and Tanarattha of Thailand 1 scored two wins – against Hong Kong 2 (21-4, 21-13) and New Zealand (21-13, 21-13) – while Thailand 2’s Jarunee and Usa beat Vietnam 1 (21-16 21-19) and Singapore (21-17 21-13).

The competition continues Wednesday, with the semifinals and finals taking place on Thursday.

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