Competition on to be first U23 world champions
Myslowice, Poland, June 4, 2013 – With one day until the start of competition, teams from the six confederations are putting the final touches to their preparations for the inaugural FIVB U23 Beach Volleyball World Championships.
For most of the teams the competition will provide the final stop in their beach volleyball development before they progress up to the senior ranks, which was the original idea behind staging a competition that provides a third age-group World Championships after the U21 and U19 tournaments. And following the outstanding success of the Continental Cup, which concluded with the FIVB World Cup Final on Sunday, interest in the event has been impressive with unprecedented diversity of registered teams reflecting the new found popularity of international beach volleyball.
With six vacancies per confederation available in the main draw, each confederation had the option of organising a qualification tournament to qualify the teams or nominate their best six representatives* to play inside the main draw of 32 teams (eight pools of four teams with the top three teams advancing to the 24-team single elimination final phase) per gender, with a maximum of one team per gender per country and two teams per gender for the host country.
National federations were also able to register their teams for the tournament, enrolling directly in to a qualification tournament which be held on Wednesday, on the eve of the Championships.
Since, not all 30 spots in the main draw were not filled by the confederations (10 vacant in the women and five vacant in the men), the top five women’s countries based on the FIVB national federation ranking not already represented in the main draw - Switzerland, Spain, Norway, Italy, and Lithuania - were moved up the qualification phase. The remaining five vacancies for women and five for men will be played off for in the qualification tournament.
For the African confederation (CAVB) - the only confederation to organise a qualification tournament for the FIVB U23 Beach Volleyball World Championships - the event has provided the chance for six teams to compete in both the men’s and women’s competitions. Duos from Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Niger, Rwanda, Zimbabwe and Egypt will appear in the men’s competition, while Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Rwanda and Zimbabwe qualified for the women’s competition.
Their success in qualifying reflects the FIVB’s desire to spread the sport to new markets and allow non-traditional beach volleyball countries to compete at the elite level.
Of course there will be many of the familiar countries represented in Myslowice. USA provides two teams (one in main draw and one in qualifying) in both genders. Alex Jones and Kyle Stevenson compete in the men’s draw and Devon Hatcher and Parker Kalmbach in qualifying, while Tara Roenicke and Kirby Burnham are the USA’s women’s main draw team with Meg Norton and Brittany Tiegs playing on Wednesday.
For Continental Cup champions Brazil, Rebecca Cavalcanti Barbosa Silva and Thais Rodrigues Ferreira will compete for the South American nation in the women’s tournament, with Vitor Goncalves Felipe and Marcio Guadie Ley competing in the men’s.
Myslowice, located 70km outside Poland’s ancient capital Krakow, will host a FIVB age group World Championships for a third time after successfully hosting the U19 and U21 versions in 2006 and 2007.
It has also regularly hosted stops on the FIVB World Tour - the first World Tour competition was a single-gender women’s tournament in 2008, as was the 2011 event. In 2009, 2010 and 2012 it was the men who lit up the courts.
FIVB U23 Beach Volleyball World Championships teams by continent
* Via the last U23 Continental Championships or U23 Continental Tour in 2013 or 2012