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Argentina hosting World Tour at FIVB Corrientes Grand Slam

Shanghai Grand Slam Men's podium all heading to Argentina, from left, Brazil's Pedro Salgado/Bruno Schmidt (silver), USA's Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson (goldl) and Brazil's Alvarho Filho/Ricardo Santos (bronze).

Corrientes, Argentina, May 20, 2013 - After a break of just over two weeks, the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour resumes in the Western Hemishpere, returning to Argentina for the first time since 2000 for the upcoming $440,000 FIVB Corrientes Grand Slam double-gender tournament this week.

Following two season-opening events in China, the FIVB Corrientes Grand Slam will have men and women’s competition running from Wednesday through Sunday. Using a format of a single-day qualification tournament on Wednesday to determine the final eight spots in each gender’s 32-team main draw tournaments, round-robin pool play with begin on Thursday. It will conclude with a single-elimination bracket for the final 24 teams. With the event being held for the first time in Corrientes the purpose-built site is located on the sands of Arazati Beach – Costanera Sur.

The lighted stadium court has been built to seat 7,500 spectators. With competition on the final four days schedule into the evening, the women’s semifinals and medal matches will be held on Saturday with the men’s semifinals and medal matches closing the tournament on Sunday. Play the first four days is scheduled to start at 8 a.m. and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday for the men’s final four matches.

A total of 99 teams from 28 countries (55 men’s teams from 23 countries and 44 women’s teams from 22 countries) selected by their national federations are officially entered. Expected to join the talented men’s field in Corrientes after missing the first two FIVB events of 2013 are Brazil’s 2011 FIVB season and FIVB world champions Alison Cerutti/Emanuel Rego.

Visiting Corrientes for the first time, the FIVB Corrientes Grand Slam will be the fourth all-time FIVB World Tour men’s event and first FIVB World Tour women’s tournament in Argentina. Argentina’s men’s world tour events were all held in Mar del Plata (1998, 1999, 2000) and a men’s FIVB Satellite event was also held there in 2004. In 2005, Buenos Aires was the site of a double-gender FIVB Satellite event.

With the start of a new four-year Olympic cycle, 12 different teams from seven countries have earned podium placements in the first two FIVB tournaments of 2013 heading to Argentina. Brazil has the most podiums after two events with four total (two men, two women) followed with two each by Austria (1-1) and the United States (both men) and with one each are China (women), Germany (women), Italy (men) and Spain (women).

As the host nation, Argentina receives three teams in each gender pre-positioned into the main draw. For the men, Argentina’s teams will be Ian Mehamed/Julian Amado, Pablo Bianchi/Pablo Suarez and Juan Zorrilla/Facundo Del Coto. The women’s teams pre-positioned from Argentina are 2012 Olympians Ana Gallay/Maria Zonta, Natalia Flaviani/Georgina Klug and Alejandra Graino/Florencia Di Cesare. In the men’s qualification tournament for Argentina will be Santiago Etchegaray/Angel Verzzali.

The 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour is comprised of 10 Grand Slam events and the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships. Not part of the World Tour but still counting towards the FIVB World Rankings, the FIVB yearly calendar also includes eight Open events.

The 2013 FIVB beach volleyball calendar started with pair of events in China in April, the FIVB Fuzhou Open followed by the start of the FIVB World Tour with the FIVB Shanghai Grand Slam. Helping lead the men’s and women’s fields are the two gold medal winning teams from the 2013 FIVB World Tour season opener in Shanghai in USA’s Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson for the men and Brazil’s Talita Antunes/Taiana Lima for the women.

All six podium teams in Shanghai are entered in Corrientes. Completing the men’s podium at the FIVB Shanghai Grand Slam were two new Brazilian teams--Pedro Salgado/Bruno Oscar Schmidt (silver) and Brazil’s Ricardo Santos/Alvaro Filho (bronze). For the women, also on the podium were a pair of sister teams--Austria’s Doris and Stefanie Schwaiger (silver) and Brazil’s Maria Clara and Carolina Salgado (bronze).

Two Brazilian men’s players, Emanuel and Ricardo, are the only active FIVB players in the field who were podium finishers in the three previous FIVB World Tour events in Argentina. In Mar del Plata, Emanuel was a double-medalist, earning a gold medal in 1999 and a bronze medal in 1998 playing both years with Jose Loiola. Ricardo was a silver medalist in 2000 with ZeMarco Melo.

The gold medal teams in each gender in the FIVB Corrientes Grand Slam will each split $33,000, the silver $22,000, the bronze $16,500 and fourth place $12,900. The men and women’s medal matches will be held on Sunday (May 26). The FIVB Corrientes Grand Slam will be the 286th FIVB men’s event since the FIVB began play in 1989 and the 248th FIVB women’s tournament since they started in 1992.

The city of Corrientes is the capital of the province of the same name and is located in north east Argentina on the shores of the Panara River, 620 miles north of Buenos Aires near the border of Paraguay. The city has a population of nearly 350,000 people. Corrientes, is the most important city in the province, known for its economic prosperity. It also houses the government’s offices and institutions.

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