Maria Clara Salgado (right) and Elize Maia of Brazil will be one of the featured teams at the inaugural Zhongwei Open starting Friday.
Lausanne, Switzerland, September 10, 2018 - After a week off, the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour resumes in China with the women’s-only Zhongwei Open as the international circuit returns to the Asian country for the 21st-straight year with Dalian hosting the first women’s event in 1998.
The $25,000 event is the third women’s event on the 2019 FIVB World Tour after starting the 2018-2019 calendar with double-gender tournaments in Hungary (Siofok) and France (Montpellier). The French competition marked the first qualifying event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
With China previously hosting 71 World Tour events including 29 men’s and 42 women’s tournaments, the inaugural Zhongwei Open will be the first of three FIVB competitions in the country before the end of the year with Qinzhou (September 30-October 4) and Yangzhou (October 10-14) staging double-gender events in the next month.
The Zhongwei Open starts on Friday with pool play and concludes on Sunday with the semifinal and medal matches where the winning team will share the $4,000 first-place prize The 378th FIVB event since the start of the women’s World Tour in 1992, a total of 19 teams from eight countries are entered into the Zhongwei Open.
The featured players in the competition will be Brazil’s Maria Clara Salgado and Chinese Olympian and 2013 FIVB world champion Chen Xue. The Zhongwei Open will be the 35-year-old Salgado’s 159th FIVB event while the 29-year-old Xue will be competing in her 129th international competition.
Two-time Chinese Olympian Chen Xue
Salgado, who played in her first FIVB event in 2000 and became a regular participant in 2005, won an Under-21 World Championship title in 2001 with Shaylyn Bede before winning World Tour titles in 2008 (Myslowice, Poland) and 2013 (Moscow) with her younger sister Carolina.
Xue, who will be playing in her first international event in 13 months, has won 17 FIVB World Tour events with the last being in December 2013 with Xinyi Xia in Durban, South Africa. The bronze medal winners at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, Xue and Zhang captured the gold medal at the 2013 FIVB World Championship in Stare Jablonki, Poland.
Elize Maia will be playing with Salgado as the Brazilian pair competed in five 2017-2018 events together with ninth-place finishes at World Tour events in Switzerland and Russia. At the Russian event, Maia and Salgado were eliminated by eventual Moscow gold medal winners Sara Hughes and Summer Ross of the United States.
Fan Wang, who competed in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with Yuan Yue, will be Xue’s partner. Wang and Xia finished the 2017-2018 season as the 21st ranked team on the FIVB World Tour with three second-place finishes at events in Australia, Switzerland and China.