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Maceió Open first of five Brazilian FIVB events in 2016

Barbara Seixas (left) and Agatha Bednarczuk featured women's pair at Maceió Open.
Maceió, Brazil, February 19, 2016 - The first of five international beach volleyball events in Brazil during the 2016 calendar year opens here Tuesday (February 23) with qualification tournaments for both men and women on the courts besides Doutor Antonio Gouveia Avenue.

FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Maceió Open website

The US$150,000 Maceió Open will be the first international beach volleyball event in the Brazilian coastal state of Alagoas on the Atlantic Ocean since April 1996 when the city of more than  one million inhabitants hosted a women’s stop.

The Maceió Open begins Tuesday with a 24-men and 32-women team qualification tournament to determine the final eight entries in both gender Main Draws. Pool play will be staged Wednesday and Thursday to set the elimination bracket with the medal matches being played February 28. The winning teams will share the $11,000 first-place prizes while netting 500 points that will count towards qualifying for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Led by 16 two-person pairs from host Brazil, a total 104 men’s and women’s teams from 31 countries have entered the fifth of 23 stops on the 2015-2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar. The 2015-2016 international calendar started last October and November with stops in Mexico, Turkey and Qatar with an event in Iran this week.

Following the Maceió Open, the FIVB World Tour will take a week off before resuming competition March 8-13 on the famed Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, the first grand slam event on the 2015-2016 international Beach Volleyball calendar with and $800,000 purse.

The FIVB World Tour returns to the Brazilian coast for the $150,000 Vitória Open from March 15-20. After events in Qatar (Doha) and China (Xiamen and Fuzhou), the international beach volleyball circuit returns to Brazil for the $150,000 Fortaleza Open (April 26-May 1).

The fifth and final stop in Brazil on the 2015-2016 FIVB World Tour calendar will be the Rio 2016 Olympic Games from August 5-21 on Copacabana Beach as the Maceió, Vitória and Fortaleza “Open” events along with the Rio Grand Slam stop are part of the qualifying process for the first-ever Summer Games in South America.

The “Road to Rio” continues through mid-June as FIVB World Tour events count towards the Olympic Ranking in order to determine 15 of 24 spots for each gender that will take part in the Rio Summer Games. Host Brazil has already secured two spots each in the men’s and women’s competition. Three of the four teams named to the South American country’s Olympic team will be competing the Maceió Open.

Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas and Talita Antunes/Larissa França, the mainstays of the Brazilian women’s Olympic team, headline the host country’s women’s entries in Maceió as the two teams dominated by the 2015 FIVB World Tour by combining to win 10 of 16 events on the schedule.

The top Brazilian men’s team in Maceió will be Evandro Gonçalves/Pedro Solberg as the pair was named last September as the South American country’s second Olympic team.  Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt, who secured Brazil’s No. 1 Olympic berth by winning the 2015 FIVB World Championships last July in the Netherlands, will rejoin international competition for the Rio Grand Slam stop.

Agatha and Barbara secured their spot in Rio by winning three FIVB World Tour stops last season highlighted by a gold medal finish at the 2015 World Championships in The Netherlands. The pair also finished atop the 2015 FIVB World Tour rankings as the pair also claimed seven total medals (three silver and one bronze) last season.

Despite finishing second to Agatha and Barbara on the international ranking lists, Talita and Larissa won the competition among Brazilian teams for the second host country spot in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games by winning seven events last season, including the $100,000 first-place prize at the Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals last October on a south Florida beach in the United States.

With Brazil securing its Olympic berths via winning World Championship gold medals and being the host country for the 2016 Summer Games, other top-ranked women’s teams on the Olympic qualifying list that will be participating in the Maceió Open are Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst (Germany, 1), Madelein Meppelink/Marleen Van Iersel (Netherlands, 3), Marta Menegatti/Viktoria Orsi Toth (Italy, 5), Jamie Lynn Broder/Kristina Valjas (Canada, 6), Elsa Baquerizo McMillan/Liliana Fernández Steiner (Spain, 7), Fan Wang/Yuan Yue (China, 8), Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler (Germany, 9), Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat (United States 10), Isabelle Forrer/Anouk Vergé-Dépré (Switzerland, 11), Joana Heidrich/Nadine Zumkehr (Switzerland, 12), Jennifer Kessy/Emily Day (United States, 13), Evgenia Ukolova/Ekaterina Birlova (Russia, 14) and Kinga Kolosinska/Monika Brzostek (Poland, 15).

Other top-ranked men’s teams on the Olympic qualifying list competing in the Maceió Open are Chaim Schalk/Ben Saxton (Canada, No. 7), Konstantin Semenov/Viacheslav Krasilnikov (Russia, 8), John Hyden/Tri Bourne (United States, 9), Grzegorz Fijalek/Mariusz Prudel (Poland, 12), Bartosz Losiak/Piotr Kantor (Poland, 13), Alex Ranghieri/Adrian Carambula (Italy, 14) and Juan Virgen/Lombardo Ontiveros, Mexico (15)

Also competing in the Maceió Open will be the legendary Brazilian tandem of Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos.  Listed as alternates for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Emanuel and Ricardo will be seeking their sixth FIVB gold medal finish together on Brazilian sand as Maceió Open marks the 11th time the two have competed together in their home country.

Overall for Brazilian FIVB World Tour events. Emanuel has played in 29 stops with eight titles and 20 medals. Ricardo has appeared in 22 FIVB events in Brazil with seven titles and 11 medals.


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