For the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) the country changes for the first time on its 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour but the heated court battles will continue. This week, the tour travels to Mexico for the double-gender US$150,000 Puerto Vallarta Open. After two season-opening tournaments in China, the FIVB World Tour returns to Mexico for the first time since 2006 for its first event in Puerto Vallarta to be held on Playa Camarones.
The second of 11 FIVB Open events in 2014, the FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open has men’s action running from Tuesday through Saturday and women’s competition running from Wednesday through Sunday. The tournament format has a one-day qualification tournament in to determine the final eight spots in each gender’s 32-team main draw tournaments followed by round-robin pool play and a single-elimination bracket for the final 24 teams. The men’s semifinals and medal matches will be held Saturday while the women’s semis and medal matches will be played on Sunday at the purpose-built stadium at Puerto Vallarta’s Playa Camarones.
The FIVB World Tour has had eight previous tour stops in Mexico. Acapulco hosted double-gender events in 1999, 2005 and 2006 and Rosarito hosted one double-gender tour stop in 2000.
A total of 50 men’s teams from 20 countries selected by their national federations and 39 women’s teams from 18 countries selected by their federations are officially entered in the FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open. The field includes several of the top up and coming teams from around the world..
FIVB WORLD RANKING NUMERO UNOS
Both the No. 1 men’s and No. 1 women’s team in the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Rankings are entered in the FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open. For the men, Chile’s No. 1 cousins Esteban Grimalt/Marco Grimalt are in the field as are the No. 1 women’s team in the current FIVB World Rankings in Argentina’s Olympians Ana Gallay/Georgina Klug.
As the host nation, Mexico receives three teams in each gender pre-seeded into the main draw. For the men, Mexico’s teams are Ricardo Galindo/Aldo Miramontes, Juan Revuelta/Miguel Cardenas and Juan Virgen/Lombardo Ontiveros. The women’s teams pre-seeded from Mexico are Stephanie Burnside/Diana Lizarraga, Paulette Cruz/Vanessa Virgen and Martha Revuelta/Bibiana Candelas. Mexico’s three teams in the men’s qualification tournament are Emilio Betancourt/Gonzalo Cancino, Julio Manrique/Mario Barragan and Jesus Vallejo/Gerardo Arriola. Mexico’s one team in the women’s qualification tournament is Mayra Santacruz/Haydee Lopez.
After sitting out last year’s FIVB World Tour, Brazil’s iconic Juliana Felisberta Silva has returned to team with the very talented veteran Maria Antonelli. Juliana played domestically in 2013 following the retirement of her legendary teammate Larissa Franca with whom she won an unprecedented seven FIVB World Tour season point championships between 2005 and 2012 and the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships. Juliana/Antonelli will continue to play this week by again playing in the women’s qualification tournament in Puerto Vallarta. Antonelli played last season with Agatha Bednarczuk and finished fifth in the FIVB World Rankings. In last week’s Fuzhou tournament, Juliana/Antonelli also started in the qualification tournament, came out strong, finishing with an 8-2 overall record and earning the silver medal. Last week in Shanghai the talented Brazilian duo finished in ninth place with a 4-2 record.
Visiting Puerto Vallarta for the first time, the FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open will be the FIVB World Tour men’s and women’s FIVB World Tour women’s tournament have played eight times in Mexico. All double-gender events, the FIVB World Tour visited Acapulco in 1999, Rosarito Beach in 2000 and Acapulco again in both 2005 and 2006.
Mexico is also hosting the inaugural FIVB Beach Volleyball U17 World Championships this year in Acapulco (July 15-20).
The gold medal teams in each gender in the FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open will each split $11,000, the silver $8,000, the bronze $6,000 and fourth place $4,500. The men medal matches will be held on Saturday and the women’s medal matches will be held on Sunday.
The FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open will be the 300th FIVB men’s event since the FIVB began play in 1987 and the 263rd FIVB women’s tournament since each started play in 1992.
Based in Lausanne, Switzerland as the international governing body for the Olympic sports of Beach Volleyball and Volleyball, the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar features a record purse of US$10.2 million with a season that extends from late April to mid-December competing at 21 venues in 18 countries. This year’s FIVB World Tour includes a record 10 FIVB Grand Slam events, the inaugural Grand Slam Finale and 11 FIVB Open Tournaments throughout the world, helping expand the door for development of the sport even further.
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The FIVB Grand Slam competitions, all double-gender, have eight with $800,000 in total purses while both The Hague, Netherlands and the Long Beach, Calif., USA event will have $1 million each in prize money, the most in FIVB Grand Slam history.
The 11 FIVB Open tournaments in 2014, seven double-gender, two men only and two women only, will have $150,000 total purses for the double gender events and $75,000 for the single-gender competitions.
As part of the initiatives of FIVB President Dr Ary S. Graça F° and his leadership team, the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball international calendar also includes a record four age-group FIVB World Championships along with the 2014 Nanjing (China) Youth Olympic Games. The FIVB Beach Volleyball U17 World Championships will debut this year while the U23 championships debuted in 2013. This year will mark the 14th annual U21 championships and the 13th annual U19 championships.