FIVB Beach Volleyball WT welcomes back

Lausanne: Klagenfurt will once again welcome the crème-de-la-crème of the beach volleyball world as the Austrian city gets set to host the ninth double-gender Beach Volleyball Grand Slam of the 2014 season from July 29 to August 3.

With nine Grand Slam events initially announced as part of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour at the start of the year, the addition of Klagenfurt brings the total up to 10, which is the current maximum number of FIVB Beach Volleyball Grand Slam events set for a calendar year.

Considered by many to be the premier international beach volleyball event, this year will mark the 17th time that the Lake Wörthersee site has hosted a stop on the international circuit. Klagenfurt had also hosted the European Championships in 2013. With the exception of last season, the men’s World Tour has been in Klagenfurt every year since 1997 and the women’s since 2001. In 2001 Klagenfurt also hosted the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships. This year’s tournament will make Klagenfurt the most experienced host in the World Tour’s history with 16 men’s and 12 women’s tournament to its name.

“Beach volleyball players and fans have come to expect the best from Klagenfurt,” said FIVB President Dr. Ary S. Graça F°. “I am proud to have the opportunity to now build on the previous successes of this stop on the World Tour and look forward to once experience all the excellent venue has to offer.”

“We are very happy to organise the A1 Beach Volleyball Grand Slam in cooperation with the FIVB at the lake Wörthersee in Klagenfurt / Carinthia again this year,” said Hannes Jagerhofer of the ACTS Group the official promoter of the event. “The dates for the Grand Slam are hereby confirmed and official. We are sure that this year’s Grand Slam will exceed all expectations of all sponsors, partners, fans and athletes by offering an exceptional week in Carinthia.”

Earlier in the month, the organisers of the Moscow Grand Slam announced a date change (now scheduled to take place from June 11 to 15) to accommodate Klagenfurt’s inclusion in the 2014 beach volleyball calendar. Other changes to the calendar include the withdrawal of the Sanya women’s only Open in China, which was tentatively scheduled for November 5 to 9.

A record $10.2m in prize money, 10 Grand Slams, an inaugural FIVB Grand Slam Final and 10 Open tournaments will be the highlights of this year’s record-breaking beach volleyball calendar.

The ever-popular Stare Jablonki, returns as a Grand Slam after hosting the World Championships last year. The venue on the banks of Lake Mazury will now welcome beach volleyball players and fans from August 19 to 24.

There are also Grand Slams in Fortaleza (Brazil), Berlin (Germany), Moscow (Russia) and Gstaad and the Grand Slams conclude with the first ever FIVB Grand Slam Final, which will offer $500,000 in prize money.

The participants in the FIVB Grand Slam Final, for which the location and dates are still to be confirmed, will be made up of the top eight nations on the FIVB Beach Volleyball Grand Slam ranking with a maximum quota of two teams per country, per gender. The newly conceived Grand Slam Final has yet to be assigned and the FIVB is in negotiations with the promoters who have shown an interest in staging this event.

Also making a return to this year’s calendar is Stavanger in Norway, another popular stop on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. The unique dockside venue, which hosted the 2009 World Championships, was last present on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour in 2011, after 13 straight seasons, but returns with a Grand Slam from June 24-29.

Through the year there are a host of familiar cities hosting Grand Slams; Long Beach in the USA continues for a second season after a successful debut in 2013, while The Hague in the Netherlands is planning on spreading the tournament over four different cities in preparation for their hosting of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in 2015.

Fuzhou (China), Anapa (Russia), Xiamen (China) and Phuket (Thailand) will once again host Open tournaments with a further five organised in Puerto Vallarta (Mexico), Prague (Czech Republic), Parana (Argentina) and Doha (Qatar) with Durban in South Africa once again bringing the season to a close in December. It is hoped that two more events will be held in India (tentatively in November) and La Reunion (tentatively in December), with organisers expected to confirm their participation in the coming weeks.

The newest addition to the 2014 beach volleyball calendar, the FIVB U17 Volleyball World Championships will be held in Bahia Banderas in Mexico, providing yet another opportunity for young beach volleyball players to come to the fore and gain international experience in their sport. Poland’s town of Myslowice will once again do the honours of hosting the FIVB Beach Volleyball U23 World Championships while Porto in Portugal will put its previous experience of hosting the FIVB Beach Volleyball U19 World Championships to practice yet again in 2014.

The second edition of the Youth Olympic Games are set to take place from August 16 to 28, 2014 in the Chinese city of Nanjing and it will be the first time beach volleyball will be included in the sporting line-up. —- FIVB

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