FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour

Fortaleza Open 2016 | 26 avril - 1 mai 2016


Press release

Ross among 29 Age-Group World Championships final 4 finishers in Fortaleza

USA's two-time FIVB Age Group World Champion Summer Ross is one of 29 athletes (15 men and 14) women who have earned final four finishes in the special FIVB Age Group World Championships competing in Brazil this week at the FIVB Fortaleza Open.

Fortaleza, Brazil, April 28, 2016 - Led by one member of each gender’s top-seeded teams, nearly 30 athletes competing in this week’s FIVB Fortaleza Open in Brazil have earned their spots in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour by way of the FIVB proving grounds known as the FIVB Age Group World Championships.

Based in Lausanne, Switzerland, the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) sanctions and produces four FIVB Age Group World Championships for U-23, U-21, U-19 and U-17. Out of these celebrations of the best young beach volleyball players in the world come many of today’s stars on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour.

Quick links
Fortaleza Open website
Main draw results - Men
Main draw results - Women

The FIVB has scheduled two age group world championships this Olympic year.  The FIVB U-21 World Championships will be held in Lucerne, Switzerland on May 11-16 and the FIVB U-19 World Championships will be held in Larnaka, Cyprus on July 26-31.

The FIVB Fortaleza Open is a double-gender event with 31 main draw teams for men and 28 for women. For the men, a qualification tournament on Tuesday was held to determine the final spot in the main draw followed by two days of round robin pool play. The top three teams in the eight pools (24 total teams) advanced from pool play to the single-elimination knockout rounds. Women began their pool play on Thursday and conclude on Friday. Also on Friday, women will play their first two elimination rounds.

On Saturday, the quarterfinals and semifinals for both genders will be played. The medal matches for both genders will all be played on Sunday with the awarding ceremony following the last gold medal match concluding the event.

One of the teams entered in the Lucerne champions are Brazilians playing with different partners here in Fortaleza. Both just 17 years old, Eduarda Lisboa will reunite with Ana Patricia Ramos, the pair that won the gold medal at the inaugural Beijing 2014 Youth Olympic Games. In Fortaleza, Eduarda is playing with Elize Maia, the duo that won the gold medal at this year’s FIVB Maceio Open in Brazil. Ana Patricia is teamed in Fortaleza with Carolina Horta.

The competitions were designed to develop young athletes as well as give them platforms to help reach the pinnacle of the sport on the FIVB World Tour. For some, like Brazil’s Pedro Salgado and Brazil’s Barbara Seixas, the age group world championships have not only helped lead to prominent places on the FIVB World Tour, but for both of them also to spots for their teams in the upcoming Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Seixas and her teammate Agatha Bednarczuk also won the 2015 FIVB World Championships held at four dynamic venues in the Netherlands last June and early July. Pedro’s Olympic teammate is Evandro Goncalves.

Of the 59 two-person tandems competing in Fortaleza this week, 15 men and 14 women (29 total) have had at least one final four finish in a FIVB Age-Group World Championship. Included in that group are six men who have won eight gold medals and 11 women who have won 17 gold medals.

Brazil’s Pedro leads all the men in Fortaleza with six final four finishes in FIVB Age Group World Championships, including three gold medals, one silver, one bronze and one fourth place finish. Brazil’s Barbara leads the women in Fortaleza with five final four finishes in these very special developmental tournaments, including three gold medals and two silver medals.

Brazil’s Pedro’s three gold medals were won in the 2002 FIVB U-19 World Championships in Xylokastro, Greece (with Ian Borges) and the other two in 2003 FIVB U-21 World Championships in Saint Quay Portrieux, France (with Pedro Cunha) and again in 2006 in Myslowice, Poland (with Bruno Oscar Schmidt).

Brazil’s Barbara earned her three gold medals starting at the 2005 FIVB U-19 World Championships in Saint Quay Portriex, France and the other two in the 2006 FIVB U-21 World Championships in Myslowice, Poland (with Carolina Aragao) and again in 2007 in Modena, Italy (with Liliane Maestrini).  

Another prominent example of the benefits of competing in the FIVB Age Group World Championships, Brazil’s Eduarda, who won’t turn 18 until August, has played in more international tournaments than her senior team member Elize, 31,

Eduardo/Elize are playing in just their eighty FIVB World Tour event in Fortaleza. In their first seven events, they won one gold medal, one silver medal, one bronze medal and one fifth place finish. In addition to winning gold at this year’s FIVB Maceio Open, they were also won the silver medal in October at the FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open which is part of this season’s FIVB World Tour.

Several of the athletes competing in Fortaleza had plenty to commend regarding their participation in FIVB Age-Group World Championships.
Here is a sampling of some of the Brazilians who have finished in the final four. Also commenting is USA’s Summer Ross, the first player to ever win the gold medal at the FIVB U-19 and FIVB U-21 in the same year. And she did it playing with different partners:

Pedro Salgado, Brazil (Six Final Fours-3 gold medals, 1 silver, 1 bronze, 1 fourth)
 â€œThe FIVB Age Group World Championships are a great opportunity to learn. I think that there we can learn how to win tournaments. There is a big difference between to play and to win tournaments. Many good teams become tough rivals in the FIVB World Tour who play for many seasons, but just got few gold medals. The level is high, so if you get there with more experience, but you have learn how to deal with the pressure, you are more prepared to win. The age group championships help you do that. Besides, you also get to know many people and different cultures. These experiences were too important to my career. In my life the 2002 FIVB U-19 World Championship in Greece, when I got the gold medal with Ian Borges, is the most important. We used to be very close friends outside the court and we played several under age tournaments in Brazil. That championship, in Greece, was our last events a team. I really enjoyed that time.”

Álvaro Filho, Brazil (Two Final Fours-2 silver medals)
 â€œI think that these FIVB Age Group World Championships are crucial for the development of the sport.  Every year we have new generation of young talents and that is increasing the level of the beach volleyball. I’ve got really motivated to become a professional beach volleyball player after I ran into someaAge group championships. In Brazil’s age group Championship Vitor Felipe and I conquered the national title, and afterwards we were wearing the national colors in the Junior World Cup and we get a silver medal. That time I realized that I should be a professional player”.

Vítor Felipe, Brazil (Four Final Fours-3 silver medals, 1 bronze)
 â€œTo play at the age group competitions was the most important thing that happened in my career. I played for a while in those kinds of tournaments. At that time I learned a lot and that made me think about becoming a professional player. That time in my life helped me to develop myself as a person and as a player. When I started to compete on the FIVB World Tour I realized how important that experience was for my life to have been a part of so many FIVB Age Group World Championships.”

Gabriel Kissling, Switzerland (One Final Four-1 silver medal)
“When I got the silver medal with Mirco Girson in Halifax, Canada at the 2012 FIVB U-21 World Championships, I committed myself to going as far as I can in this sport.  The total experience in dealing with the travel, the cultures and the great young athletes from all over the world helped set the foundation for me and I wouldn’t be here today if I hadn’t been able to be a part of all that.”

Barbara Seixas, Brazil (Five Final Fours-3 gold medals, 2 silver)
“The FIVB age groups championships were essential to my career. When you are young and still just an amateur player these competitions teach you how to be under that kind of pressure, to represent your country abroad, to get to know team from different parts of the world. It also encourage young players to become professionals. The generation that grew up with me has many good players that got medals at the age group championships and are now among the top players on the FIVB World Tour."

Juliana Felisberta, Brazil (One Final Four-1 gold medal)
“I think that the FIVB age groups tournaments are very important. If take a look around you will notice that, many FIVB Age Group World Champions are doing great on the FIVB World Tour. I was a FIVB U-21 World Champion and then got a gold medal in the main World Cup. Being an FIVB U-21 World Champion opened many doors for me. I got invitations to play with great players, I got sponsors’ contracts, for me the FIVB World Tour medals feel like an Olympic one!”

Eduarda Lisboa, Brazil (Three Final Fours-2 gold medals, 1 silver, also 1 gold medal at Beijing 2014 Youth Olympic Games)
 â€œI believe that the main thing that you learn from FIVB Age Group World Championships is that they show how to deal with the pressure of representing your country. The rules are the same of the FIVB World Tour’s Opens and Grand Slams. You can get more experience as you battle all kinds of players. My dearest memory is from 2013’s U-19, when I was gold medalist with Tainá. A few months earlier I got the silver in the U-23, but I know that I could have won that final match It was too frustrating, so, winning the U-19 right after that was I relieved and it was a big accomplishment for me as I was only 15 years old.”

Summer Ross, United States (One Final Four-2 gold medals, 1 fourth)
“The FIVB Age Group World Championships they really just set me up nicely for my career on the beach. It provides so much experience going into the FIVB World Tour or any professional tournament like the AVP which is our USA domestic tour. It’s not as scary and intimidating as it could be. You know what the system is like so I am very thankful that they had these age group competitions and system set up. Before going to my first one, I really didn’t know that the FIVB existence, let along everything it has to offer. Playing in the juniors opened my eyes about what could be and all the experience I gained that and after my first event, I just wanted to quiet indoor and go all-in to the beach, it was just so much fun. I would recommend that any young athlete from any country just get into this system. It is just so much fun and can provide a career for you as well. It’s an experience of a lifetime. I will never forget my gold medals, especially when I was just 17 and playing U-21 in Antalya, Turkey and we won the gold over Italy’s Marta Menegatti who has gone on to be such a great professional beach player.”

The gold medal teams at the FIVB Fortaleza Open will split $11,000 and 500 points, the silver $8,000 and 450 points, the bronze $6,000 400 points and fourth place $4,500 and 450 points.

With placement points for the FIVB Olympic Rankings for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games continuing, the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour has resumed with events over eight straight weeks through the end of May. In all, Brazil is hosting five international events in 2016. In addition to Maceió, Rio and Vitoria, this week’s FIVB Fortaleza Open (April 26-May 1) and the Brazil events conclude with the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Aug. 6-18).

The FIVB World Tour heads to Europe FIVB Fortaleza Open. Up first will be in Russia for the FIVB Sochi Open (May 3-8) followed by the FIVB Antalya Open in Turkey (May 11-15). The tour then visits the United States for the FIVB Cincinnati Open (May 17-22) and then returns to Russia for the FIVB Moscow Grand Slam (May 24-29).

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