35 nations set for first FIVB U17 Beach Volleyball World Championships
A total of 72 teams from 35 nations, representing qualifiers from each of the five FIVB Confederations, have gathered at Playa Tamarindos in Acapulco Bay alongside of the glistening Pacific Ocean to chart history in competition starting Wednesday for 36 teams in each gender to determine the first FIVB U17 World Champions on Sunday.
Playing in the sand steps of FIVB World Tour stars who graced Playa Tamarindos three times previously for FIVB Open events, the FIVB U17 World Championships has been structured for 36 pre-qualified main draw teams in each gender split into six pools of six teams each for five round-robin matches within their respective pools. The top four teams from each pool will then advance to the knockout, single-elimination rounds of the tournament to eventually lead to the first FIVB U17 titles.
This year’s FIVB U17 World Championships is the second of the four age-group tournaments to be held in 2014. Poland hosted the FIVB U23 World Championships in June and still to be played are the FIVB U21 World Championships in Cyprus and the FIVB U19 World Championships in Portugal.
Qualification tournaments where held in each of the five FIVB Confederation to determine the countries who would earn their allotted slots in the first FIVB U17 Beach Volleyball World Championships. Local organizer for the FIVB U17 World Championships is Mexico’s National Volleyball Federation.
In the men’s field in Acapulco, Europe is represented by teams from France, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey. In the U17 women’s lineup, teams from Europe in Mexico are from the Czech Republic, England, France, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain and Turkey.
As the host nation, Mexico has three men’s and four women’s teams in their respective main draws. Other countries with two teams each in the men’s field are Australia, Canada, Portugal, Russia, the United States and Venezuela. Among the women’s teams are two teams each from Australia, Russia, the United States and Venezuela.
Mexico’s men’s teams in the championships are Jose Cardenas/Raymond Stephens, Carlos Hernandez, Wilfrido Martinez and Miguel Verduzco/Miguel Sarabia.
Women’s teams representing Mexico in the championships are: Isis Del Cielo/Olga Parra, Citlali Padilla/Lucia Aguilera, Rocio Ramirez/Ana Aldape and Daniela Torres/Alejandra Tapia.
While this will be the first age-group FIVB World Championship in Mexico, Acapulco has hosted three double-gender FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Open events, in 1999, 2005 and 2006 and Rosarito hosted an FIVB Open in 2000. The 2005 women’s FIVB Acapulco Open included the epic gold medal match of four iconic Olympians: Brazil’s Juliana Feslisberta/Larissa Franca and USA’s Misty May-Treanor/Kerri Walsh Jennings. In a classic struggle between the top two seeds, Juliana/Larissa outlasted May-Treano/Walsh Jennings, winning in three sets, 28-26, 40-42 and 15-13 in one hour, 40 minutes. Both the second set and length of the match are FIVB all-time records.
THIS IS ACAPULCO
Acapulco is a city, municipality and major seaport in the state of Guerrero on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, 300 kilometers (190 miles) southwest of Mexico City. Acapulco is located on a deep, semi-circular bay and has been a port since the early colonial period of Mexico's history.
The city is best known as one of Mexico's oldest and most well-known beach resorts, which came into prominence in the 1950s as a getaway for Hollywood stars and millionaires. Acapulco is still famous for its nightlife and still attracts many tourists. The resort area is divided into two: The north end of the bay is the "traditional" area, where the famous in the mid-20th century vacationed; and the south end is dominated by newer luxury high-rise hotels.
As part of the initiatives of FIVB President Dr Ary S. Graça F° and his leadership team, the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball international calendar also includes a record four age-group FIVB World Championships along with the 2014 Nanjing (China) Youth Olympic Games (Aug. 17-27). The FIVB Beach Volleyball U17 World Championships are debuting this year while the FIVB U23 World Championships (Myslowice, Poland, June 10-15) debuted in 2013. This year will mark the 14th annual FIVB U21World Championships (Larnaka, Cyprus, July 23-27) and the 13th annual FIVB U19 World Championships (Porto, Portugal, July 29-Aug. 3).
The 2014 FIVB age groups world championships got started in Poland with Poland’s Maciej Kosiak/Maciej Rudol winning the men’s gold medal for the home country and Australia’s Mariafe Artacho/Nicole Laird winning the women’s gold medal in the FIVB U23 World Championships.
NET POWER TIME
Based in Lausanne, Switzerland as the international governing body for the Olympic sports of Beach Volleyball and Volleyball, the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar features a record purse of US$10.2 million with a season that extends from late April to mid-December competing at 21 venues in 18 countries. This year’s FIVB World Tour includes a record 10 FIVB Grand Slam events, the inaugural Grand Slam Finale and 10 FIVB Open Tournaments throughout the world, helping expand the door for development of the sport even further.
The FIVB Grand Slam competitions, all double-gender, have eight with $800,000 in total purses while both The Hague, Netherlands and the Long Beach, Calif., USA event will have $1 million each in prize money, the most in FIVB Grand Slam history. The 10 FIVB Open tournaments in 2014, seven double-gender, two men only and one women only, have $150,000 total purses for the double gender events, $75,000 for the single-gender.