Shanghai hosts opening Grand Slam of 2013
A year ago local favourites Chen Xue and Zhang Xi won gold at the City Beach Volleyball Centre after defeating Brazil’s Talita Antunes and Maria Antonelli in front of a packed arena at Jinshan Beach, while Brazilian world champions, Larissa Franca and Juliana Felisberta da Silva claimed bronze.
The Chinese duo will be in determined mood to repeat their success and start 2013 in positive fashion after missing out to Larissa and Juliana for the London 2012 Olympic Games bronze medal and the World Tour crown last year.
With the likes of Larissa and Juliana, Talita and Maria Antonelli and Olympic champions Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor having ended their partnerships, Chen and Zhang Xi will be overwhelming favourites for the World Tour crown and the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships gold medals.
Olympic silver medallists Jennifer Kessy and April Ross are likely to be leading challengers for gold, while there are a host of European teams aiming to break through into the upper echelons of the sport. These include Italy’s Greta Cicolari and Marta Menegatti, Germany’s Ilka Semmler and Katrin Holtwick and Dutch duo Marleen van Iersel and Sanne Keizer, who won gold in Shanghai in 2011.
The 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour will run over a six month period and features 10 mixed-gender tournaments across four of the five confederations, the last of which takes place in Sao Paolo, Brazil from October 9-13.
The calendar also features the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships that takes place in Stare Jablonki, Poland from July 1-7.
It is the ninth straight year in which Shanghai has hosted a women’s FIVB SWATCH World Tour event and the final takes place on May 4.
Following the completion of the Shanghai Grand Slam the World Tour moves onto to the Corrientes Grand Slam in Argentina from May 22-26.