Klagenfurt, Austria, July 26, 2016 – When play opens here Wednesday in the women’s Main Draw at the US$800,000 A1 Major Klagenfurt, 12 teams headed next week to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games will be competing on the six competition courts at this week’s SWATCH Major Series event.
The A1 Major Klagenfurt is the fourth of five SWATCH Major Series events owned and operated by the Beach Major Company, the world's leading producer of Beach Volleyball events. The final SWATCH Major Series event will be September 13-18 in Canada as Toronto hosts the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals.
Headlining the Olympic pairs in this week’s FIVB World Tour event in is top-seeded Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst as the Germans are favored to top another Klagenfurt podium after the pair won last year’s European championships at the Lake Wörthersee center court by defeating a Copacabana-bound Russian tandem in the 2015 CEV finale.
Ludwig and Walkenhorst, who have captured four FIVB World Tour events this season in Mexico, Turkey, Germany and Poland, will be competing in A1 Major Klagenfurt Pool A along with Canadian Olympians Jamie Broder/Kristina Valjas. The two team will also play in the same Pool D in Rio as Ludwig and Walkenhorst have won four of the five FIVB World Tour between the two pairs.
Another Olympic group preview in the A1 Major Klagenfurt will be a Pool C match Wednesday afternoon between Monika Brzostek/Kinga Kolosinska of Poland and Ekaterina Birlova/Evgeniya Ukolova of Russia. Both pairs will be in Pool A in Rio as the Russians have won three of four FIVB meetings with Brzostek and Kolosinska. Also in A1 Major Pool C is Australia’s Mariafe Artacho/Nicole Laird, who will compete in Rio Group C.
Birlova and Ukolova, who dropped the 2015 European finale to Ludwig and Walkenhorst on the Lake Wörthersee center court, were one of the two last women’s teams to qualify for Rio as the Russians netted their Copacabana berth by finishing among the top two teams at the FIVB Continental Cup Finals in Sochi earlier this month. Other Rio Olympic pairs playing in this week’s A1 Major Klagenfurt are:
Pool B - Karla Borger/Britta Buthe, Germany (Copacabana Pool E)
Pool D - Ana Gallay/Georgina Klug, Argentina (Copacabana Pool B)
Pool E - Joana Heidrich/Nadine Zumkehr, Switzerland (Copacabana Pool E)
Pool F - Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy, Australia (Copacabana Pool F), Barbora Hermannova/Marketa Slukova, Czech Republic (Copacabana Pool B)
Pool G - Elsa Baquerizo/Liliana Fernandez, Spain (Copacabana Pool B); Isabelle Forrer/Anouk Verge-Depre, Switzerland (Copacabana Pool C)
Pool H - None