2017 Preview: World Tour brings changes as new quadrennial begins
Latvia's Janis Smedins (left) and Aleksandrs Samoilovs will be back in 2017
New World Tour structure
The new five-star structure is in place for the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour between 2017 and 2020 and will see all events on the tour assigned a star rating between one and five as the International Volleyball Federation continues to reform its competitions, delivering the best possible events for its athletes, fans and sponsors. Five and four star will be the highest level elite events while three, two and one star events will be there to develop the sport in as many regions as possible.
The new fivb World Tour event structure is the latest step taken by the FIVB, under the leadership of FIVB President Dr. Ary S. Graça F°, to modernise and streamline its competitions as it looks to enter into a golden period for beach volleyball on the heels of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and on the road to Tokyo 2020. It will replace the current system in which the World Tour is made up of Grand Slams, Majors and Opens and instead organisers will be given greater flexibility in the naming of their events with the requirement that the specific star rating is included.
Commenting at the announcement of the new tournament point system, President Graça said: “The aim of the new structure is to provide a platform as well as developing events that increase the number of competitions across an ever-expanding number of hosting countries. This will create a sustainable business model while providing additional commercial flexibility and opportunities.”
Looking at 2017
While the $1,000,000 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria to be held from July 28 to August 6 is clearly the focal point for the 2017 FIVB World Tour, the Swatch FIVB Major Series of events portion of the schedule also returns with four 5-Star tournaments, as well as the Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals. A five-star event is also scheduled to take place in Rome, Italy from June 6 to 11.
The 2017 FIVB World Tour will begin with the 5-star Fort Lauderdale Major in the United States from February 7 to 12 and conclude with a 3-Star event in Qinzhou, China.
The 2017 calendar includes a total of 24 events and features single-gender men’s events in Kish Island, Iran and Espinho, Portugal and women’s only events in Sydney, Australia, Daegu, Korea, Ulsan, Korea and the Principality of Monaco. The remaining 18 events will all be double-gender tournaments.
Events in Fiji, Australia, Malaysia, Monaco, Korea and Morocco demonstrate the immediate acceptance and success of the new five-star structure that the FIVB is implementing for the FIVB World Tour.
In addition to the FIVB World Championships in Vienna, showcase events will include the 2017 Swatch FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Finals from August 22 to 27 at a location to be finalised in Canada along with the four major series events as well as an additional 5-Star event in Rome, Italy on June 7-11.
The four Swatch FIVB Major Series events will be held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA from February 7 to 12, Porec, Croatia (June 27-July 2), Gstaad, Switzerland (July 4-9) and Hamburg, Germany (August 8-13).
The only FIVB Age-Group World Championship on the 2017 calendar will be in China as the FIVB Beach Volleyball U21 World Championship will be held in Nanjing, where the 2014 Youth Olympics were held, from July 11 to 16.
Among the many tandems expected back in 2017 are Rio 2016 Olympic Games gold medallists Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt from Brazil and Latvia’s Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins who won the 2016 FIVB World Tour season point championship.
Brazil´s Alison Cerutti (blue) blocks against Italy´s Daniele Lupo (white) during the final of the men's beach volleyball tournament at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
For the men, also expected on the sand to start the 2017 season will be USA’s Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena who won four FIVB tournaments and finished second in points behind Latvia’s Samoilovs/Smedins in 2016 and Brazil’s Evandro Goncalves/Pedro Solberg, who won twice and were second in season earnings behind compatriots Alison/Bruno.
Other top men’s teams expected back are Italy’s Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai who won the silver medal in Rio, Poland’s Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak, USA’s Tri Bourne/John Hyden and the Netherlands’ Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen, the 2013 FIVB world champions and bronze medal winners in Rio 2016.
Leading contenders expected back for the women in 2017 include USA’s April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings who won the bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics as well as Brazil’s Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca who finished fourth in Rio and currently lead the point standings in the Brazilian National Tour and Spain’s veteran international duo of Elsa Baquerizo/Liliana Fernandez. Rio 2016 Olympic Games gold medallist Laura Ludwig is currently recovering from shoulder surgery, but should make a comeback with partner Kira Walkenhorst later in the year.
April Ross (left) and Kerri Walsh Jennings will partner again in 2017
Quick links - Beach volleyball:
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour 2017
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour 2016
Rio 2016 Olympic Games - Beach Volleyball
FIVB.com - Beach Volleyball
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