100 teams get together on Lucerne sand for 3-star event


Cuba’s Nivaldo Diaz and Qatar’s Cherif Younousse in action at the last three-star event, in Mersin

Lucerne, Switzerland, May 8, 2018 – The FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour returns to Lucerne after a first stop was held in the Swiss city back in 2015. From May 9 through 13, a classy three-star double gender tournament will be held at the LIDO event venue on the beautiful shores of Lake Lucerne. It will be the first of two World Tour stops in Switzerland scheduled for 2018.

One hundred teams (54 men’s and 46 women’s pairs) from 35 different countries will join the sand battles for the distribution of $150,000 of total prize money. In each gender a 32-team main draw will feature a modified pool play system with the top three teams in each four-team pool progressing into the single elimination stage. With 24 duos seeded directly into the main draw, the remaining eight spots will be contested in qualifications to be played on Wednesday, May 9.

Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho lead the women’s preliminary seeding on entry points. The Australian pair will be looking to add a third gold to their World Tour record after topping the podium in Qinzhou and Sydney in the fall of 2017. As a pair, they also have a bronze medal on their tally, from the Xiamen four-star event less than a month ago.

Germany’s Kim Behrens and Sandra Ittlinger come next on the list. Their only medal so far as a team on the World Tour was the silver they claimed at the indoor tournament in Aalsmeer back in October. With a different partner, Behrens won two more silver medals earlier in 2017.

The top three in the women’s preliminary ranking also includes China’s Fan Wang and Xinyi Xia, who have won one silver as a duo so far, at Sydney 2017. While for 2016 Olympian Fan Wang this followed three earlier runner-up finishes with another teammate, 21-year-old Xinyi Xia already has three gold, three silver and two bronze medals behind her.

Three duos from Switzerland, two each from Brazil, Canada, the Netherlands, Thailand and USA, and one each from Austria, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Norway, Russia, Spain and Ukraine complete the list of 24 teams seeded directly into the women’s main draw, awaiting eight more additions emerging from Wednesday’s qualification battles.

Pairs from Qatar, Cuba and Belgium form the top three on the long list of well-known male players who will test out their skills on the Lucerne sand.

For the Qatari partnership of Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan, the goal is to improve on their best-ever finish on the Tour, the third place at home in Doha back in March. Separately, Younousse has one gold medal from 2016, while Tijan has two silvers from 2017.

Just last week in Mersin, Cubans Diaz Gomez Nivaldo Nadir and Sergio Reynaldo Gonzalez Bayard finished third, their second bronze on the 2018 World Tour, after Qinzhou. Their only previous medal had been the Langkawi gold in 2017.

Dries Koekelkoren and Tom van Walle of Belgium will be after their first ever medal on the Tour, since their best finish so far is the fourth place they took at the Qinzhou stop on the 2018 World Tour.

Three pairs each from Austria, Switzerland and USA, as well as teams from Chile, Finland, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Venezuela are also among those already holding a direct ticket to the men’s main draw in Lucerne.