Ostrava, Czech Republic, June 19, 2018 – The FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour returns to the Czech Republic with its first ever stop in the country’s third largest city, Ostrava. With four men-only and two women-only tournaments previously held in the capital Prague, this will be the seventh (and the first double-gender) World Tour event on Czech sand. The four-star tournament will take place from June 19 through 24 at the Lower Vitkovice industrial heritage site in Ostrava.
An impressive line-up of 113 teams (58 men’s and 55 women’s pairs) from 35 different countries, with all five continental confederations represented, have registered to play for their share of the $300,000 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, June 20.
One country quota match played on Tuesday has already sparked excitement with a dramatic three-set battle, in which Brazilians Taina Silva Bigi and Victoria Lopes Pereira Tosta emerged with a 2-1 (18-21, 22-20, 21-19) come-from-behind victory to knock their compatriots Ana Patricia Silva Ramos and Rebecca Cavalcanti Barbosa Silva out of the women’s competition.
Chantal Laboureur and Julia Sude lead the women’s preliminary seeding on entry points at Ostrava. After Porec 2016 and Gstaad 2017, the German pair will be looking for their third World Tour gold or at least an overall ninth medal. So far in 2018, Laboureur and Sude have earned one podium finish only – their Huntington Beach bronze last month.
Two Brazilian duos are next on the list. 2012 Olympian Maria Antonelli has 13 gold medals on the World Tour so far, but only one of them is in partnership with Carolina Solberg Salgado. After topping the podium together at the Hague in 2017, Maria Antonelli and Carol will be after their second gold as a team. Each of them has numerous World Tour medals with various partners, but only three overall with each other.
Since after her Olympic silver from Rio 2016, Agatha Bednarczuk, who will be turning 35 on Friday, has been partnering with young Brazilian hopeful Eduarda Santos Lisboa - Duda, now at 19. In less than two years of partnering on the World Tour, they have already won seven medals, including two first places – at Rio de Janeiro 2017 and Itapema 2018.
Brazil and Germany will have at least two more teams each in the women’s main draw. Three duos each from the Czech Republic and USA, two each from the Netherlands and Switzerland, and one each from Austria, Canada, China, Finland, Poland, Russia and Ukraine complete the list of 24 teams seeded directly into the main draw, awaiting eight more additions to emerge from Wednesday’s qualification battles.
2016 Olympic gold medallist and 2012 Olympic silver medallist Alison Cerutti is teaming up with 23-year-old Andre Loyola Stein for the first time and the new Brazilian pair are on top of the men’s list for Ostrava. Alison has a magnificent showcase of beach volleyball honours, but Andre has already won six (three gold) World Tour medals of his own to brag about, including the 2017 World Championship title.
Coming second on the list, two-time Olympians, silver medallists from Rio 2016 and reigning three-time European champions Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo have a long history together. For the decorated Italian team, this will be only the third World Tour appearance in 2018, but they already have one silver from Fort Lauderdale in March.
The top three of the men’s preliminary seeding on entry points at Ostrava is completed by another Brazilian duo, Evandro Goncalves Oliveira Junior and Vitor Goncalves Felipe. The first World Tour gold for each of these two players dates back to the Berlin Grand Slam in 2013, when they played together as a team. Since then, 2016 Olympian Evandro has added five gold medals to his tally, including the crown of a world champion, together with Andre, in 2017. Vitor Felipe has brought his gold medal count on the World Tour to three.
Pedro Solberg and Bruno Oscar Schmidt are the third Brazilian pair in the 24 teams directly seeded into the men’s main draw. Host country Czechia will also be represented by at least three duos. Four Polish tandems, two pairs each from Canada, Latvia, the Netherlands and Russia, and one each from Austria, Cuba, Mexico, Norway and Spain, complete the list.