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Wet weather welcomes Youth Olympians

Tullio Texeira (left), Miguel Quintana (Center) and Marcelo Wangler work the preliminary inquiry Wednesday.

Nanjing, China, August 13, 2014 - It was a wet welcome here Wednesday for the majority of the Beach Volleyball athletes that will begin participating next week in the 2014 Youth Olympics at the Nanjing Sports Park Complex.

With on-and-off rain showers throughout the day and early evening, Wednesday’s activities at the Beach Volleyball venue featured the first of two days of preliminary inquiries for the 52 countries represented in the 72-team, 144-player event at the Nanjing Sports Park Complex.

Competition begins Sunday with the first of five days of pool play matches for both men and women participants.  After the conclusion of pool play matches August 22, the single-elimination rounds will start August 24 leading to the women’s medal matches August 26.  The men’s semi-final and medal matches will be played August 27 at the 2,000-seat Beach Volleyball venue at the Nanjing Sports Park Complex.

Led by FIVB delegate Tullio Texeira of Brazil, the 10-person FIVB Control Committee assembled for the first-time Wednesday.  Miguel Quintana headed the group handling the preliminary inquiries as the Control Committee member from Spain has been involved with Olympic Beach Volleyball since its start at the Atlanta 1996 Summer Games.

Marcelo Wangler of Brazil is the competition director for the inaugural Beach Volleyball event at the Youth Olympics where the determination of the composition of the six pools of six nations each will be set after Friday’s technical meeting.

The top four teams from each pool will advance to the elimination rounds.  For the single-elimination bracket, the six pool winners will receive a first-round “bye” along with the best two second-place teams.

“Everything went smoothly Wednesday,” said Tullio.  “Every team visiting the venue today for practice and the preliminary inquiry were excited to be here.  Despite the damp conditions, the four competition courts were in good shape and the facilities for this event are excellent.“

A total of 3,300 tons of sand were used to build the four competition and two warm-up courts at the Beach Volleyball venue at the Nanjing Sports Park Complex.  The sand is from Hainan Island in southeastern China, the same place where the materials came from to build the courts at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

Puerto Rican players Daniel Rivera and Lina Colon were among the “excited” players at the venue Wednesday.  “It is an honor to be representing my country at this event,” said the 17-year old Colon, who will start her senior year in high school when she returns to Puerto Rico after the Youth Olympics.

“The competition will be tough,” said Colon, “and we are glad that we have a few days to recover from traveling.  We are not feeling any real pressure about competing.  There was more pressure in qualifying for the Games.  We played the qualifying rounds in Puerto Rico and had the pressure to perform well due to competing in front of our families and friends.”

The 18-year old Rivera, who will be starting his freshman year at Marquette University in Wisconsin next month, echoed Colon’s statements about competing for Puerto Rico in the Youth Olympics.  “This will be our first international event together,” said Rivera, who is playing with Sergio Figueroa.  “We are glad to be here early to work on the coordination as a team.”

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