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FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour this week at women’s FIVB Prague Open

After winning their country's first gold medal last year on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, Czech Republic's Market Slukova, left, and Kristyna Kolocova return to defend their title this week at the FIVB Prague Open.
Lausanne, Switzerland, May 17, 2015 — After last week’s event in Switzerland, the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) moves to the Czech Republic as 2015 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour continues this week with the women’s only US$75,000 Prague Open, the only women-only event on this year’s schedule. Visiting Prague for the sixth time, the FIVB World Tour stop will be held on the purpose-built site on the sands of Stvanice Stadium.

This week’s FIVB Prague Open will see women’s action from Wednesday with the semifinals and medal matches on Sunday. The tournament format will have a one-day qualification tournament to determine the final eight spots in each gender’s 32-team main draw tournaments followed by round-robin pool play and a single-elimination bracket for the final 24 teams. Country quota playoffs as needed will be held on Tuesday.

Expanding the enthusiasm of a new season, a total of 82 women’s teams from 34 countries selected by their national federations are officially entered in the talented field in the FIVB Lucerne Open with numerous athletes teamed with different partners for the 2015 season.

While this will be second women’s only FIVB World Tour stop in the Czech Republic, previously Prague had FIVB World Tour Open men’s events in 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012. In the first four events in Prague, Brazil and the United States captured all but three of the 12 total men’s medals. The Czech Republic has also held four FIVB Challenger men’s events, three in Brno and one in Karlovy Vary.

In last year’s first women’s FIVB Prague Open, Czech Olympians Kristyna Kolocova/Marketa Slukova won their first women’s FIVB gold medal and first for the Czech Republic in FIVB World Tour history. The silver and bronze medals both went to teams from Germany—Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmeler and Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst respectively. Czech Republic’s Kolocova/Slukcova and Germany’s Holtwick/Semmeler are both entered in this week as well.

With a population of over 1.2 million, Prague is situated on the River Vltava in central Bohemia and has been the political, cultural, and economic center of the Czech state for over 1,100 years. Prague is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and is among the most visited cities on the continent.

Founded during the Romanesque and flourishing by the Gothic and Renaissance eras, Prague was not only the capital of the Czech state, but also the seat of two Holy Roman Emperors and thus also the capital of the Holy Roman Empire. It was an important city to the Habsburg Monarchy and its Austro-Hungarian Empire. After World War I became the capital of Czechoslovakia. The city played major roles in the Protestant Reformation, the Thirty Years’ War, and in 20th-century history, during both World Wars and the post-war Communist era.

As the host nation, the Czech Republic has three women’s teams the main draw, one in the qualification tournament and four scheduled for a Country Quota playoff on Tuesday. Czech Republic’s main draw teams are top-seeded Kolocova/Slukova, 14th-seeded Martina Bonnerova/Barbora Hermannova and 24th-seeded wild card entry Sona Novakova/Lenka Hajeckova.

The one Czech women’s team already confirmed for the qualification tournament is the duo of Martina Jakubsova/Diana Zolnercikova. Czech Republic teams scheduled to compete in a Country Quota playoff on Tuesday are the tandems of Kristyna Adamcikova/Anna Komarkova, Eliska Galova/Sarka Nakladalova, Tereza Jarosova/Eliska Novakova and Karolina Rehackova/Magdalena Dostalova.

For the FIVB Prague Open, top women’s seeds are Czech Republic’s top-seeded Kolocova/Slukova, Germany’s No. 2 Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler, Brazil’s No. 3 Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas, Italy’s No. 4 Marta Menegatti/Viktoria Orsi Toth, Germany’s No. 5 Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude, Brazil’s No. 6 Carolina Salgado/Maria Clara Salgado and Slovak Republic’s No. 7 Natalia Dubovcova/Dominika Nestarcova.

The gold medal team in the FIVB Lucerne Open will split $11,000, the silver $8,000, the bronze $6,000 and fourth place $4,500. The women’s semifinals and medal matches will be held on Sunday.

The 2015 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour schedule will include five FIVB Grand Slams, the new Swatch FIVB Major Series of four events, six FIVB Opens and a special Swatch FIVB World Tour Season Final in the United States. A showcase event will be the $1 million 2015 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in the Netherlands (June 26-July 5).

A total of 15 countries will host events this year as the 2015 FIVB World Tour also begins the Olympic qualification process with all FIVB World Tour events (except the FIVB World Tour Finals) in 2015 up until June 13, 2016 counting towards the Olympic Ranking in order to determine 15 spots for each gender that will take part in each 24-team field in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

The FIVB Grand Slam and Swatch FIVB Major Series competitions, all double-gender each have $800,000 in total purses. The total purse FIVB World Championships the Netherlands 2015 will be $1,000,000 and $500,000 total for the Swatch FIVB World Tour Season Final which will feature the top eight teams in each gender.

The nine FIVB Open tournaments in 2015, seven double-gender, one men only and one women only, will have $150,000 total purses for the double gender events and $75,000 for the single-gender competitions.

Implemented in 2013, the format of all the FIVB Beach Volleyball international tournaments – whether FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships, FIVB Beach Volleyball Grand Slam or FIVB Beach Volleyball Open – are the same, featuring pool play followed by single elimination knockout rounds. Country Quota playoffs will return as needed in 2015 to determine the final teams for the qualification tournament.

Following this week’s lone women’s-only open of the 2015 FIVB Beach Volleyball calendar at the FIVB Prague Open in the Czech Republic, the first of five grand slams will be held with the FIVB Moscow Grand Slam in Russia from May 26-31 concluding this month’s schedule.

The FIVB Prague Open will be the 280th FIVB women’s tournament since they started in 1992. There have been 317 FIVB men’s events since the FIVB began men’s competition in 1987.

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