FIVB World Tour 2016 starts in Mexico with FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open


Mexico's Juan Virgen, pictured, and Lombardo Ontiveros 2015 Pan Am champs, will be the provisional top-seeded team in this week's FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open in Mexico, the first event on the 2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour schedule.

Lausanne, Switzerland, October 4, 2015 —On the heels of the highly successful 2015 Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals last week, the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) quickly resumes the qualifying process for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games by launching the 2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour this week in Mexico with the double-gender $150,000 FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open.

The first of three open events on the 2015 portion of the 2016 FIVB World Tour calendar, the FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open starts Monday and continues through Sunday at the purpose-built event site on Playa Camarones.

Returning to Puerto Vallarta for the second straight year, the FIVB World Tour visiting Mexico for the sixth time for men and the sixth time for women, starting the FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open will be 49 men’s teams from 20 countries along with 45 women’s teams from 21 countries.

The $150,000 FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open starts Monday and concludes on Sunday. The event is the season opener for the 2015 portion of the 2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. This week’s tournament in Mexico is the first of two double-gender events and one men’s only event that comprise the 2015 portion of the 2016 FIVB World Tour.

The FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open will be a 32-team, double-gender event. It will start with a qualification tournament for men on Tuesday and for women on Wednesday to determine the final eight spots in the 32-team main draw followed by two days of round robin pool play for each gender. The top three teams in the eight pools (24 total teams) will advance from pool play to the single-elimination knockout rounds. Men’s pool play will be held Wednesday, Thursday along with the round of 16 and the men’s quarterfinals. On Saturday will be the men’s semifinals and men’s medal matches on Sunday.

The women’s pool play matches will be played on Thursday and Friday with the first round of eliminations on Friday as well. The women’s quarterfinals and semifinals will be held on Saturday and the event will conclude with the women’s medal matches on Sunday.

As needed, country quota playoff matches will be played Monday for men and Tuesday for women.

Puerto Vallarta is one of three cities to host an international FIVB beach volleyball event. Others have been Acapulco and Rosarito Beach.

Prior to last year’s Puerto Vallarta event, Acapulco had FIVB World Tour events in 1999, 2005 and 2006 and Rosarito Beach hosted a FIVB World Tour stop in 2000. In 2014, Acapulco returned to the FIVB international calendar, hosting the inaugural 17U FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships, one of four age-group world championships held every other year by the FIVB.

Last year’s gold medal winners in the inaugural FIVB World Tour event in Puerto Vallarta were Latvia’s Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins for the men and Brazil’s Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas for the women.

In the first five FIVB World Tour events held in Mexico, Brazil and the United States have earned 23 of the 30 total medals.

Brazil leads the way in FIVB World Tour stops in Mexico, winning 13 total medals (five gold medals, five silvers and three bronze) followed by the USA with 10 total medals (four gold, three silver and three bronze).

By gender, Brazil has won seven men’s medals followed by the USA with five and with one each men’s medal in Mexico are Italy, Latvia and Mexico. Brazil has won six women’s medals followed by the USA with five, Australia with two and with one women’s medal each in Mexico have been duos from China and Norway.

Puerto Vallarta is a Mexican balneario resort city located on the Pacific Ocean's Bahia de Banderas. The 2010 census reported Puerto Vallarta's population as 255,725 making it the second largest city in the state of Jalisco. The City of Puerto Vallarta is the government seat of the Municipality of Puerto Vallarta which comprises the city as well as population centers outside of the city extending from Boca de Tomatlán to the Nayarit state t border (the Amerca River).

Puerto Vallarta's proximity to the Bay of Banderas, the agricultural valley of the Ameca River, and the important mining centers in the Sierra have given the town a more interesting past than most Mexican tourist destinations. Puerto Vallarta was a thriving Mexican village long before it became an international tourist destination.

Tourism is a major economic activity because of the climate, scenery, tropical beaches, and rich cultural history. For a sense of the extent even of the city's modern history, note that Puerto Vallarta and Seattle (United States) were founded in the same year, 1851

As the host nation for the FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open, Mexico has three men’s teams pre-seeded into the main draw and three more teams in the qualification tournament. Mexico’s main draw teams are provisional top-seeded Juan Virgen/Lombardo Ontiveros, 22nd-seeded Joe Rubio/Josue Gaxiola and 24th-seeded Ricardo Galindo/Juan Revuelta. Men’s teams in the qualifier from Mexico are Luis Bojorquez/Ulises Ontiveros, Raymond Stephens/Miguel Sarabia and Elvis Perez/Edwin Valencia.

As the host nation, Mexico has three women’s teams pre-seeded into the main draw and three teams in the women’s qualification tournament. Mexico’s main draw teams are provisional 22nd-seeded Bibiana Candelas/Ana Rios, 23rd-seeded Stephanie Burnside/Zaira Orellana and 24th-seeded Claudia Rios/Gloria Santoyo. Women’s teams in the qualifier from Mexico are Elsa Almaguer/Karen Valencia, Freda Lopez/Paulette Cruz and Rubi Sandoval/Haydee Lopez.

For the FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open, preliminary top men’s seeds are Mexico’s top-seeded Virgen/Ontiveros, Netherlands’ second-seeded Reinder Nummerdor/Christiaan Varenhorst, USA’s third-seeded Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson, Netherland’s fourth-seeded Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen and USA’s No. 5 Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena.

For the FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open, preliminary top women’s seeds are Germany’s top-seeded Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst, Germany’s No. 2 Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler, Switzerland’s No. 3 Isabelle Forrer/Aouk Verge-Depre, Italy’s No. 4 Marta Menegatti/Viktoria Orsi Toth and Russia’s No. 5 Ekaterina Birlova/Evgeniya Ukolova.

The gold medal team in each gender at the FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open will split $11,000, the silver $8,000, the bronze $6,000 and fourth place $4,500.

The FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open will be the 330th men’s event since the FIVB began men’s competition in 1987 and the 294th FIVB women’s tournament since they started in 1992.

After the season-opening event in Puerto Vallarta, the 2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, with placement points counting in the FIVB Olympic Rankings for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, continues with the two remaining 2016 FIVB World Tour events on the 2015 portion of the schedule. The first will be the double-gender $150,000 FIVB Antalya Open in Turkey (Oct. 20-25) and the final event in 2015 will be the men’s only $75,000 FIVB Doha Open in Qatar (Nov. 9-13).

The FIVB Grand Slam and Swatch FIVB Major Series competitions, all double-gender each have $800,000 in total purses. The total purse FIVB World Championships the Netherlands 2015 was $1,000,000 and $500,000 total for the Swatch FIVB Beach VolleyballWorld Tour Finals which will feature the top eight teams and two wild card teams in each gender.

The 10 FIVB Open tournaments in 2015, eight double-gender, one men only and one women only, will have $150,000 total purses for the double gender events and $75,000 for the single-gender competitions.

The 2015 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour schedule included five FIVB Grand Slams, the new Swatch FIVB Major Series of three events, seven FIVB Opens and the inaugural Swatch FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Finals in the United States. The showcase event was the $1 million 2015 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in the Netherlands (June 26-July 5).

A total of 15 countries hosted events this year as the 2015 FIVB World Tour began the Olympic qualification process with all FIVB World Tour events (except the Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals) in 2015 up until June 13, 2016 counting towards the Olympic Ranking in order to determine 15 spots for each gender that will take part in each 24-team field in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Implemented in 2013, the format of all the FIVB Beach Volleyball international tournaments – whether FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships, FIVB Beach Volleyball Grand Slam or FIVB Beach Volleyball Open – are the same, featuring pool play followed by single elimination knockout rounds. Country Quota playoffs will return as needed in 2015 to determine the final teams for the qualification tournament.