After an FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour rarity with events ending mid-week, the international beach volleyball circuit takes a weekend off before resuming action in China for the seventh annual Xiamen Open.
Thailand staged last week’s men’s and women’s event on the FIVB World Tour where pairs from host country (Nuttanon Inkiew and Sedtawat Padsawud) and the United States (Caitlin Ledoux and Emily Stockman) captured the top spots on the Satun podiums on Wednesday for the 1-star tournament.
A day after the Thai stop, pairs from Australia (Christopher McHugh/Damien Schumann) and Canada (Melissa Humana-Paredes/Sarah Pavan) captured the 2018 Commonwealth Games in the FIVB recognized multi-sports competition on the Australian Gold Coast.
Guanyinshan Golden Beach will be the site for the 13th men’s and eighth women’s event on the 2017-2018 FIVB calendar that started last September in France and ends this August in Germany for the World Tour Finals in Hamburg.
With $150,000 in prize money available with the winning teams sharing the $20,000 first-place prizes, qualifying for the Xiamen Open will be played on Wednesday followed by Main Draw pool play Thursday leading to the medal matches Sunday for both men and women as China hosts the international tour for the second of six events in the Asian country.
China hosted a men’s and women’s FIVB stop at Qinzhou in mid-October where pairs from Russia (Maxim Sivolap/Igor Velichko) and Australia (Mariafe Artacho/Taliqua Clancy) captured the gold medals. Other Chinese stops on the 2017-2018 World Tour calendar will be in Jinjang (May 31-June 3 for men and women), Nantong (June 7-10 for women), Nanjing (June 14-17 for women) and Haiyang (July 18-22 for men and women). China will also host the FIVB Beach Volleyball Under 19 World Championships in Nanjing from July 10-15.
Defending Xiamen champions Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen will be seeking their third FIVB gold medal this season when the “money” rounds start Thursday as the Dutch pair secured their fourth and fifth World Tour titles in March by topping podiums in Doha, Qatar and Aalsmeer, the Netherlands.
The Dutchmen started the season with a bronze medal finish in January at The Hague followed by a fifth-place at the February Beach Major stop in the United States at Fort Lauderdale.
Brouwer and Meeuwsen have compiled a 19-5 match mark this season to improve their career record to 218-118 (64.9%) for 70 FIVB World Tour events since starting their partnership in 2011. Highlighting the Dutchmen’s seven-plus season together was a gold medal at the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in Stare Jablonki, Poland.
A new women’s champion will be crowned in Xiamen this season as the teams that competed in the women’s final at the 2017 Open are not in the 2018 field. However, 2017 Xiamen bronze medal winners Victoria Bieneck and Isabel Schneider will be competing again this year after the Germans placed fourth in February’s Beach Major stop in the United States.
Before returning to the United States at the start of May for a $300,000 four-star event in “Surf City” at Huntington Beach, California, the FIVB World Tour will stage a 1-star event in Langkawi, Malaysia for both men and women. It will be the second FIVB event in Langkawi where pairs from Cuba and the United States topped the podium in 2017.