PRESS RELEASE 11.06.2009

32 Countries to Compete in SWATCH FIVB World Championships

The seeding of the SWATCH FIVB World Championships which took place at the FIVB Headquarters was attended by the promoter Bjorn Maaseide, the FIVB President Jizhong Wei and the Beach Volleyball Department Director Angelo Squeo

Lausanne, Switzerland, June 11, 2009 - Led by Beach Volleyball pairs from Brazil, Germany and the United States, a total of 96 teams from 32 countries and all five confederations have been seeded for the 2009 SWATCH FIVB World Championships presented by ConocoPhillips to be held June 25 through July 5 in Stavanger, Norway.

The seed lists for the 2009 SWATCH FIVB World Championships were announced here Thursday with FIVB President Jizhong Wei present along with Angelo Squeo, the FIVB’s Beach Volleyball Director, and two members of the Norwegian organizing committee - Bjorn Maaseide and David Cox.

“We are looking forward to the competition with a world class field competing for the prestigious gold medals on the unique dock-side setting in Norway,” said President Wei.  Squeo praised the Norwegian organizers for “developing a fantastic setup for the event.  This will be the best world championships despite the economic crises.  It will be an exciting 11 days in Stavanger.”

Maaseide, who has been instrumental in the development of Beach Volleyball since the mid-1990s and the chief architect of Stavanger stop on the SWATCH FIVB World Tour since 1999, calls it “an all-out effort to produce a world class event.  No host committee has worked harder to put together an event.  With today’s announcement, the Beach Volleyball fans know the teams and initial pairings for the opening phase of the competition.  Stavanger has been a fixture on the world tour for the past 10 years and this year’s event will showcase Norway and Beach Volleyball world-wide.”

Featuring US$1-million in prize money, the 2009 SWATCH FIVB World Championships will have 48 men’s and 48 women’s teams competing on the courts on the Vaagen Harbour docks as Stavanger hosts a SWATCH FIVB World Tour event for the 11th-straight season.

The 2009 SWATCH FIVB World Championships features pool play matches June 25 through July 1 to set the field for the 32-team single-elimination brackets where play begins July 2.  The women’s medal matches will be July 4 followed by the men’s podium placement matches July 5.  The winning teams will share the $60,000 first-place prizes.

The pool play match schedule will be announced on Friday as the ninth-seeded Norwegian team of Nila Ann Hakedal and Ingrid Torlen will play the opening match June 25 during the opening ceremonies against 40th-seeded Stine Andreasen and Lotte Vestergaard of Denmark.  The match will be the first-ever meeting between the two teams.

With Brazil and Germany being awarded one “wild card” berth each for the men’s and women’s competition, respectively, the South American and European countries will have nine tandems in the competition.  The United States will have four teams each in both the men’s and women’s fields with host Norway having four men’s and three women’s teams in the competition.

Two-time world champion Emanuel Rego headlines the Brazilian entries as he teams with Ricardo Santos for their fourth-straight appearance together in the SWATCH FIVB World Championships.  Emanuel captured the 2003 world championships with Ricardo in Rio de Janeiro after winning the 1999 SWATCH FIVB World Championships with Jose Loiola in Marseille, France.

Harley Marques, the most outstanding player on the 2008 SWATCH FIVB World Tour, and Alison Cerutti of Brazil will be the No. 1-seeded men’s team in the competition.  The teams of Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers of the United States and Julius Brink/Jonas Reckermann of Germany fill the next two seeding spots followed by the Brazilian Pedros (Cunha/Salgado) and Emanuel/Ricardo.

Dalhausser and Rogers topped the podium at the 2007 SWATCH FIVB World Championships in Switzerland where Emanuel and Ricardo placed fourth.  After defeating Emanuel and Ricardo in the Gstaad semi-finals, Dalhausser and Rogers captured the gold medal by defeating Russia’s Dmitri Barsouk and Igor Kolodinsky in the finals.  Barsouk and Kolodinsky, the only Russian team to win a SWATCH FIVB World Tour gold medal, will also be competing in Stavanger.

The other two Brazilian pairs in the men’s competition are Joao Maciel/Bruno Oscar Schmidt and Marcio Araujo/Fabio Magalhaes.  Winners of the 2005 SWATCH FIVB World Championships in Berlin and silver medal tandem at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games after losing the finale to Dalhausser and Rogers, Marcio Araujo and Fabio were rewarded one of the “wild card” men’s berths for the Stavanger event.

The teams of Iver Horrem/Maaseide and Kjell Arne Goranson/Oivind Hordvik also received “wild cards” for the men’s competition where the two pairs will join the tandems of Tarjei Skarlund/Martin Spinnangr and Vegard Hoidalen/Jorre Kjemperud as the Norwegian entries.

With a new women’s champion to be crowned as three-time world champions Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh of the United States did not enter the 2009 SWATCH FIVB World Championships, the Brazilian pairs of Juliana Felisberta Silva/Larissa Franca and Talita Antunes/Maria Antonelli will be the favorites.  Both teams have each won two SWATCH FIVB World Tour gold medals this season.

Other Brazilian teams in the Stavanger competition are Shelda Bede/Ana Paula Connelly and the Salgado sisters (Carolina and Maria Clara).  Shelda, a two-time world champion with Adriana Behar in 1999 and 2001, and Ana Paula were the top women’s team on the 2008 SWATCH FIVB World Tour.

With all four Brazilian teams among the top eight seeds in the women’s field, the American tandems of Jen Kessy/April Ross (No. 1), Nicole Branagh/Elaine Youngs (No. 4) and Angie Akers/Tyra Turner (No. 6) will fill the other top stops spots along with Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler of Germany (No. 7).  Talita and Antonelli will be the second-seeded pair with Juliana and Larissa third.  Shelda and Ana Paula will be fifth while the Salgados are eighth.

In addition to Nila and Ingrid, the other women’s teams from Norway in the 2009 SWATCH FIVB World Championships are Janne Kongshavn/Kathrine Maaseide and Ragnhild Aas/Siri Bjorkesett.  Aas and Bjorkesett received a “wild card” along with Germany’s Claudia Lehmann/Julia Sude and Lucy Boulton/Denise Johns of Great Britain.

Over 64,000 tickets have already been sold for the 2009 SWATCH FIVB World Championships.  A “World Championship Pass” is available which offers a 35% discount off the normal price of each ticket.  A wide range of accommodations are still available (booking code JBG999).  For more information, please visit the event web site at www.vmstavanger.com.

Following the 2009 SWATCH FIVB World Championships, the SWATCH FIVB World Tour will stage four-straight Grand Slam events in Gstaad, Moscow, Marseill and Klagenfurt.  With $7.39-million in prize money this year, the 2009 SWATCH FIVB World Tour continues through the fall with the men’s final event in China and the women’s last stop in Thailand.