New Zealand Open abandoned amid downpour
Mt Maunganui, New Zealand, January 26, 2011 – The New Zealand Open came to a damp end on Sunday after a torrential downpour in Tauranga meant the tournament, which featured 2009 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World champions Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann of Germany, had to be called off.
As a result, the six remaining teams in the men's and women's edition equally split the prize pot. In the men's edition this included semi-finalists Brink and Reckermann and home duo Kirk Pitman and Jason Lochhead as well as teams in Round 8 of the losers' bracket including New Zealand's Ben and Sam O’Dea, and Brendon Heath and Edwin O'Dea; France's Andy and Kevin Ces; and Dutch pair Daan Spijkers and Emiel Boersma .
Women's pairs receiving a share of the prize money included semi-finalists Sara Goller and Laura Ludwig of Germany, and Shauna Mullin and Zara Dampney of Great Britain together with teams from Round 8 of the losers' bracket including home duos Kate Sheriff and Kelsie Wills, Julia Tilley and Audra Penney, and Carli Botes and Danielle Quigley; plus the Australian tandem Katie Bartoli and Eliza Dean.
"The international teams were still interested but the danger levels from the storm, with the possibility of flying signage and tents, posed too great a risk to the athletes and spectators," Richard Cassut, tournament director, said. "It's a shame because we had a sensational day on Saturday."
The New Zealand Open was meant to follow the Karapiro Open which concluded last Thursday on the South Island. On that occasion Greg Lindsay-Brown and Johann Timmer gave the home crowd something to cheer about as they saw off USA’s Mike Maghy and Ryan Ratelle in the final while the O'Dea brothers sealed bronze. It was travelling Australians Bartoli and Dean who were successful in the women's contest, beating home pair Hannah Croad and Micah Lindsay-Brown in the final while Sheriff and Wills picked up the bronze medal.