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Ukolova and Khomyakova lead field at Anapa Open

Evgenia Ukolova and Ekaterina Khomyakova are looking to relive some of the glory from last year's World Tour

Anapa, Russia, July 19, 2013 – Russia’s top team Evgenia Ukolova and Ekaterina Khomyakova lead the field in the women’s competition at the inaugural FIVB Beach Volleyball Anapa Open, which will take place from July 23 to 27. The Russian double gender tournament is the second of seven Open events on the 2013 FIVB calendar.

Ukolova and Khomyakova won gold, silver and bronze on the World Tour last year. They were separated at the beginning of this year, but teamed up again at the Corrientes Grand Slam in May and are slowly gaining form with a 9th place finish at the World Championships in Stare Jablonki just a few weeks ago.

This week the Russian pair won their first medal of the year, taking gold at the Universiade Games in Kazan, Russia.

In both the women’s and men’s competition a lot of junior teams have entered the event. Brazil’s 14-year old U19 world champion Eduarda Santos Lisboa enrolled with Thais Rodrigues Ferreira, the same partner she won silver with at the U23 World Championships in June.

For Lithuania’s Ieva Dumbauskaite and Monika Povilaityte, the 2012 U19 world champions, will have a shot at the medal. Also competing in Anapa are Thailand’s Varapatsorn Radarong and Tanarattha Udomchavee and Olympian Ana Galay and her new partner Georgina Klug from Argentina.

In the men’s competition top seeded Alexey Sidorenko and Alexandr Dyachenko from Kazakhstan will try to better their best result so far, ninth place at the Grand Slams in Shanghai, The Hague and Rome this year.

Home team Konstantin Semenov and Yaroslav Koshkarev, who won bronze at the The Hague Open in 2011, are also one of the title candidates. Lots of participating teams are making their FIVB debut, like Israel’s Ariel Hilman and Sean Faiga and USA’s Wiliam Montgomery and James Avery Drost.       

Anapa is hosting a FIVB beach volleyball event for the first time and is the third Russian city to stage one after Moscow and St. Petersburg.

The format of the Open event is the same as on the World Tour, featuring pool play followed by single elimination rounds. Women’s main draw starts on Wednesday July 24 with the medal matches scheduled for Saturday. The men’s competition is one day behind.

Anapa is a seaside resort on the Black Sea coast, located 330 kilometres to the north of Sochi, the venue of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

Since 2007 Anapa is the home of the Russian national volleyball and beach volleyball teams. The campus includes several cottages for athletes, an indoor sports hall and a beach volleyball stadium.

The sunny climate and the beautiful sandy beaches make ‘Volleygrad’ (Volleyball City) an ideal location for beach volleyball.

In the weekend preceding the FIVB Anapa Open the final phase of the Russian National Championships is also staged in Anapa.

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