Lausanne, Switzerland, July 2, 2018 - The 23rd of 29 weeks of FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour competition continues this week with double gender events at sites on the coast of the Istrian Peninsula in western Croatia, a seaside resort town in the north of Portugal and the northern coast of the Black Sea in Russia.
For the fourth-straight season in Croatia, Porec will host an international beach volleyball event while Portugal will host a men’s tournament for the 15th time and a women's for the 10th time in Espinho while Russia’s Anapa returns to the schedule for the third time after staging events in 2013 and 2014.
Considered by many of the renowned players as one of the best beach volleyball playing surfaces in the world, the $300,000 Espinho Open begins on Wednesday with qualifying for women. The men's country quota matches will be played Wednesday followed by a Thursday qualifier. The other two double gender events this week begin on Thursday with preliminary rounds in Russia (Anapa) and Croatia (Porec) where $10,000 in prize money will be available at both sites.
Anapa hosts the FIVB World Tour for the third time
The main draw at Espinho will start on Thursday leading to weekend elimination play highlighted by medal matches Saturday women and Sunday for men where the winning teams will share the $20,000 first-place prizes. The Porec and Anapa Opens will begin Main Draw play on Friday with the Croatian finale Saturday and the Russian medal matches on Sunday.
Porec hosts its fourth FIVB World Tour event
The Portuguese, Croatian and Russian events mark the 23rd week of play on the 2017-2018 FIVB calendar with six more weekends of action remaining on the World Tour schedule that started September 7, 2017, in Montpellier, France and concludes August 19, 2018, with the circuit Finals in Hamburg, Germany. A total of 29 men's and 28 women's events have been staged since the season opener in France.
With the Polish capital of Warsaw hosting the only FIVB World Tour event this past weekend, pairs from Poland and Canadian captured the men's and women's gold medals, respectively. The Warsaw Open was the first FIVB double gender event in the capital city where women's-only tournaments were held in 2006 and 2007.
Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak became the 53rd men's/women's team in the 32-season history of the FIVB World Tour to win a gold medal on home sand as the Polish pair out-lasted Brazilians Evandro Goncalves and Vitor Felipe in three sets on Sunday in Warsaw.
Prior to the men’s finale, it was a Canada Day highlight as Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson from the North American country captured their first-ever FIVB World Tour gold medal together by defeating Germany’s Chantel Laboureur and Julia Sude in two sets. The win was special for Wilkerson as she claimed her first-ever World Tour title as she celebrated her 26th birthday.
Poland - Warsaw, June 26-July 1, 2018, $150,000, FIVB women's event No. 360
1. Heather Bansley/Brandie Wilkerson, Canada, $20,000
2. Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude, Germany, $16,000
3. Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda "Duda" Lisboa Brazil, $10,000
4. Kelly Claes/Brittany Hochevar. United States, $8,000
Gold - Bansley/Wilkerson def. Laboureur/Sude, 2-0 (21-17, 21-17) (37 minutes)
Bronze - Agatha/Duda def. Claes/Hochevar, 2-0 (21-17, 21-18) (32)
Poland - Warsaw, June 26-July 1, 2018, $150,000, FIVB men's event No. 396
1. Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak, Poland, $20,000
2. Vitor Felipe/Evandro Goncalves, Brazil, $16,000
3. Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins, Latvia, $12,000
4. Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen, Netherlands, $8,000
Gold - Kantor/Losiak def. Vitor/Evandro, 2-1 (27-29, 21-13, 15-12) (55)
Bronze - Samoilovs/Smedins def. Brouwer/Meeuwsen, 2-1 (21-18, 18-21, 17-15) (47)
Kantor and Losiak are the 30th men's team to win on home sand since the start of FIVB-sanctioned beach volleyball men's events in February 1987. Host country men's teams have won 44 gold medals on home sand led by five title victories by the legendary Brazilian pair of Emanuel Rego/Ricardo Santos.
With Kantor/Losiak's gold medal finish on Sunday, a total of 10 countries have now won men's gold medals on home sand. A total of 15 Brazilian men's teams have won 28 World Tour titles on home sand.
Sunday's men's finale also marked the second straight week that a host country team won an FIVB gold medal match on home sand as the Czech Republic women's pair of Barbora Hermannova and Marketa Slukova captured the World Tour event as the host country team in Ostrava last Sunday.
Hermannova and Slukova, who defeated Bansley and Wilkerson in the Ostrava finale last Sunday and were eliminated on Saturday by the Canadians in the Warsaw quarterfinals, were the 23rd women's team to win on home sand since the start of FIVB-sanctioned women's events in August 1992.
The 23 women's winners on home sand are from eight countries with nine Brazilian women's pairs posting 25 gold medal wins at World Tour events in the South American country. Host country women's teams have won 45 gold medals on home sand led by five titles triumphs by the legendary Brazilian pair of Adriana Behar/Shelda Bede.