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Distance no problem for Venezuelans as Kish Island re-starts World Tour

Villafane (left) and Henriquez are heading for Kish Island
Lausanne, Switzerland, February 11, 2016 – Venezuela’s leading pair Jackson Henriquez and Jesus Villafane will travel over 12,000 kilometres to help restart the 2015-16 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour at the inaugural Kish Island Open and help kick-start nine months of spectacular beach action. 

The Iran-administered island in the Gulf hosts the first of 17 tournaments that will culminate in the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games and Henriquez and Villafane are one of the teams that will be chasing Olympic Ranking Qualification points or seeking to build momentum for the Continental Cup Olympic Qualifying Tournaments. 

Henriquez and Villafane have been partners since the end of the 2014 World Tour season and have reached the quarterfinals of World Tour events on a number of occasions. They first made their names together back in 2015 when they won silver at the FIVB U21 World Championships in Rio de Janeiro. 

The pair are one of two that will be crossing the Atlantic for the tournament. The others are Mexico’s Juan Virgen and Lombardo Ontiveros, who won silver in front of their home fans at the Puerto Vallarta Open in 2015.

The host nation has eight teams competing in the men-only event, led by their leading pair Bahman Salemiinjehboroun and Rahman Raoufi, all of whom will be striving to impress new national team coach Luciano Barbosa, who was appointed to the post since January. 

From Europe there will be a number of teams challenging for places on the podium. Markus Bockermann and Lars Fluggen ended 2015 with the Qatar Open gold medals round their necks, while France’s leading pair Edouard Rowlandson and Youssef Krou and Italian twins Matteo and Paolo Ingrosso will also have their eyes on the medals. 

The Kish Island event is the first of the 11 Open tournaments to be staged by the FIVB in 2016, following on from Open events in Puerto Vallarta, Antalya and Doha in October and November last year, which heralded the start of the 2015-16 season. Qatar will host a second Open event in Doha from April 4 to 8.

The 2015-2016 beach volleyball calendar also includes five Grand Slams, three Major Series stops and the second edition of the Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals. The beach volleyball tournament at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games which will take place on Copacabana Beach will be the highlight of the 2016 calendar.


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