Youth Olympics Produced Positives
Nanjing, China, August 28, 2014 - One of the happiest individuals working the Beach Volleyball competition at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympics was FIVB delegate Marco “Tullio” Teixeira.
Not only was he “happy and pleased” with the setup of the venue for the Beach Volleyball competition at the Nanjing Sports Park Complex, but “Tullio” was “extremely pleased with the tremendous growth” of his the sport since the FIVB started sanctioning international events in 1987.
A participant for Brazil in those early events with a second at a FIVB World Tour event in 1991 with Marlos Cogo at Almeria, Spain, “Tullio’s” delight centers around the number of countries competing in FIVB-sanctioned events around the world starting with only seven nations involved in the first-ever Beach Volleyball event in Brazil in 1987 to more than 190 countries involved with the qualifying process for the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games.
“The growth is startling when you consider where we started in the late 1980s,” said “Tullio”, who is the vice president of the CSV, the South American confederation. “In the beginning, it was usually Brazil, the United States and a few other countries entering teams. Now, we have almost all the federations entering teams in our international events starting with the Continental Cups for qualifying for both the Olympics and Youth Olympics.”
Prior to the London 2012 Olympics, participation was determined by a country’s placement on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour for the Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Summer Games. During the qualifying process for Atlanta, Sydney, Athens and Beijing, approximately 60 countries had teams vying for Olympic berths.
However, the qualification process changed in September 2009 when the Continental Cup concept was developed to achieve the FIVB’s goal in developing Beach Volleyball around the world.
To qualify for events like the Olympics, Youth Olympics and world championships for both elite and young players, the Continental Cup concept confines qualifying to each of the FIVB’s five confederations located in Africa (CAVB), Asia (AVC), Europe (CEV), North, Central America & Caribbean Confederation (NORCECA) and South America (CSV).
While the Continental Cup concept has played a key role in developing Beach Volleyball, the FIVB has also developed a “Categorization” program to help develop countries where they are not grouped with the world’s elite (Category V) programs like Brazil, China, Italy, Japan, Poland, Russia, Serbia and Thailand.
“It is impossible for an up-and-coming country to compete with the Category V countries like Brazil,” said “Tullio”. “Those countries would get crushed initially and would lose interest quickly. But if they can have success competing with countries on the same level, their interest remains high along with increasing their involvement at international events.”
“Tullio” cited the Youth Olympic Games success for the African nation of Ghana and Saint Lucia from NORCECA. “Both countries are developing,” said “Tullio”, “and because of the Continental Cup process, they were able to advance with the competition by starting in a pool of Category I nations.
Despite finishing 17th in the men’s and women’s Youth Olympic competitions, Ghana and Saint Lucia won three of five pool matches prior to being eliminated Sunday by pairs from Category III countries Canada and Switzerland.
“Prior to the London Games, Ghana and Saint Lucia never attempted to qualifying for the Olympics,” “Tullio” added. “Both countries could not handle the financial commitment to travel on the FIVB World Tour for six-to-eight months. When the process changed for London, the only commitment for travel was within their confederation where Olympic and world championships berths were available for qualification.”
From seven countries in 1987 to more than 190 nations in 2014 competing for Olympic and world championship berths in Beach Volleyball is “remarkable”, according to “Tullio”. And after watching teams from FIVB Category I and II nations like Bolivia, Ecuador, Ghana, Latvia, Lithuania, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Saint Lucia, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay competing Sunday, “Tullio” was sporting the “biggest smile” in Nanjing.