Talita & Larissa assume women’s Olympic ranking leadership
The Brazilian pair has won 12 of the 19 FIVB World Tour events they have entered since forming their partnership at the end of July 2014 and have now amassed 6,940 points to move ahead of compatriots Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas (6,870 points) by 70 points. Sunday’s Vitoria Open was Talita and Larissa’s 12th qualifying event as a team who must play in at least 12 FIVB World Tour and/or recognized continental championships to be eligible for Olympic consideration.
Women's Provisional Olympic Ranking
The team that finishes atop the Olympic ranking list will earn the No. 1 overall seed for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games to be played August 6-18 on iconic Copacabana. Eight more qualifying events remain on the FIVB World Tour’s women’s schedule before the June 13 deadline. The next women’s event in the qualifying process is April 12-17 in Xiamen, China.
With Brazil already securing two berths in the Rio Summer Games due to winning the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in the Netherlands in 2015 (Agatha/Barbara and Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt) and being the host country (Talita/Larissa and Evandro Goncalves/Pedro Solberg) for the fifth renewal of Olympic beach volleyball completion, 15 women’s and men’s pairs will secure spots for the Copacabana quadrennial event via the FIVB World Tour.
Five of the seven remaining berths will be determined by Continental Cup competition for each of the FIVB’s five confederations. The remaining two berths will be decided at the Continental Cup Finals in Russia (July 6-10) where Sochi will host its third Olympic qualifying event. The host site of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, Sochi staged a FIVB World Tour Open event last September and will welcome the world’s best beach volleyball players again this May 3-8.
Other Olympic qualifying highlights from Victoria had Ross and Walsh Jennings becoming the No. 1-ranked American women’s team on the provisional list (4,390 points) by 60 points over Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat (4,330). Ross and Walsh Jennings, who still need three more participations together to meet the requirement of playing in at least 12 events, are currently entered in the next three Open events in China (Xiamen and Fuzhou) and Sochi.
Germans Karla Borger and Britta Büthe played in their 12th event in Vitoria to satisfy the participation requirement as the pair is the No. 2 team (4,600 points) from their country ahead of London 2012 Olympic participants Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler (4,390).
With Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst the top German pair and No. 1 overall on the provisional listing (5,740) that excludes all Brazilian teams, a fourth team from the European country is still in contention - Chantal Laboureur and Julia Sude (4,090).
As Brazilians will not be among the FIVB World Tour’s top 15, the competition for the women’s last four spots has five teams in contention with three other pairs needing lofty finishes to figure in the chase for Rio. The five teams seeking the last four FIVB World Tour slots (No. 12, 13, 14, 15) are Elsa Baquerizo/Liliana Fernández of Spain (4,160 points), Fan Wang/Yuan Yue of China (4,090), Joana Heidrich/Nadine Zumkehr of Switzerland (3,900), Ana Gallay/Georgina Klug of Argentina (3,830) and Ekaterina Birlova/Evgenia Ukolova of Russia (3,830)
Women’s pairs on the outside looking in are Natalia Dubovcova/Dominika Nestarcova of the Slovak Republic (3,370 points), Linline Matauatu/Miller Pata of Vanuatu (3,270), Taru Lahti/Riikka Lehtonen (3,110) and Barbara Hansel/Stefanie Schwaiger of Austria (3,036).
Men's Provisional Olympic Ranking
Like the women’s provisional list, the Brazilian teams do not figure on the men’s “List of 15” as nine more qualifying events remain on the FIVB World Tour’s men’s schedule before the June 13 deadline. The South American country has already secured two men’s berths in the Rio Summer Games due to being the host country (Evandro/Pedro) and winning the World Championships last July (Alison/Bruno).
Lombardo Ontiveros/Juan Virgen of Mexico (4,050 points) are currently in the 15th provisional spot with a 330-point lead over their closest rivals Josh Binstock/San Schachter of Canada (3,720) and Youssef Krou/Edouard Rowlandson of France (3,710). Other teams in contention are the Grimalt cousins (Esteban and Marco) of Chile (3,640), Jonathan Erdmann/Kay Matysik of Germany (3,540) and Murat Giginoglu/Volkan Gogtepe of Turkey (3,380).
Despite being 510 points behind Ontiveros and Virgen, London 2012 Olympic participants Erdmann and Matysik have the best opportunity to catch the Mexicans as they only have 10 participations to date and are scheduled to compete in the next two events in Qatar (Doha, April 4-8) and China (Xiamen, April 12-17). A combination of a fifth- and ninth-place finish in those two events would net 540 points. Ontiveros and Virgen need to place fifth-place or-higher finishes in those events to improve their point total (60 point increase).