Nine Grand Slams scheduled for SWATCH World Tour 2012
There will also be eight Open events, six of which will be single-gender competitions.
With total prize money of $7.3 million on offer, the FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour 2012 will include Grand Slams offering $600,000 prize money in Beijing, Moscow, Rome, Stavanger, Gstaad, Klagenfurt, Stare Jablonki as well as Shanghai, which has been upgraded from an Open, event and Berlin which may return to the calendar for the first time since 2008. The latter event will be confirmed in the near future.
The World Tour could also see a return to Rio de Janeiro after seven years away, but it is still yet to be decided, with Brazilian capital Brasilia yet to reach a decision. Furthermore, the Phuket Open has been taken off the calendar with an Open event now taking place in Bang Saen, Thailand.
The FIVB SWATCH World Tour will begin with a double gender Open in either Brasilia or Rio de Janeiro from April 16 to 22 ahead of the first Grand Slam in Shanghai, China from April 30 to May 6. One of the highlights of the year will undoubtedly be the London 2012 Olympic Games from July 27 to August 12, but before that comes the five Beach Volleyball Continental Cup final tournaments from June 18 to 24 followed by the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Cup Olympic Qualification from June 25 to July 1, both of which offer duos a last chance at qualification. The five national federations from each confederation to win the Continental Cup will earn a ticket to London while the two countries per gender from the World Cup Olympic qualification tournament will also qualify. The location of these events will be decided later this year.
The 16 places per gender to qualify directly from the World Tour will be decided following the Rome Grand Slam from June 12 to 17. The national federations with the twelve best results between the World Championships, World Tour and recognized Continental Tours from January 1, 2011 up until this date will automatically earn a berth at the Olympic Games.
“With the popularity of beach volleyball in Germany rising at a rapid pace, it made sense to include Berlin in the calendar,” Dr Ary Graça, president of the FIVB Beach Volleyball Commission said. “This is by far the strongest and most extensive schedule the FIVB has ever produced and it is a true reflection of the growth of beach volleyball over the last few years. We have experienced a phenomenal increase in interest with full capacity crowds at almost every venue. It is sure to be an exciting season of beach volleyball action and that is before we even begin to think about the Olympic Games and the FIVB Beach Volleyball Continental Cup finals.
“Having seen the plans for Horse Guards Parade and heard reports from the test event earlier this year I think it is obvious that the London Olympic Games offers beach volleyball a new and unique platform to spread the game even further. To have a tournament taking place in such a historic setting is wonderful for the sport and I cannot wait to be among the thousands of fans next July and August. We really hope that the event will sell out as we have no doubt that LOCOG plan on putting on a memorable show,” Dr Graça added.
“Beach volleyball continues to be a leading light across the world in terms of growth and I am proud to see that we as an organization are continuing to expand our horizons,” Mr Vincente Araujo, the secretary of the FIVB Beach Volleyball Commission, said. “The fact that the World Tour will visit so many different cities is an impressive feat, and the Continental Cup has already added to that. I truly believe that next season will be the best yet for the sport as we usher in another new era for beach volleyball.”
FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour 2012 schedule
*Location to be confirmed
**To be confirmed