Klagenfurt, Germany, July 25, 2016 - Although Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler are not track athletes, the two veteran German beach volleyball players failed to clear a hurdle here Monday at the A1 Major Klagenfurt as the German pair was trying to protect their spot as one of two tandems from their country headed to Canada in September for the Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals.
As the 2015-2016 FIVB World Tour season heads to the finish line, the international ranking for men and women will be used to determine the first eight qualifiers per gender with a maximum of two teams per country for the Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals to be staged September 13-18 in Toronto.
Holtwick and Semmler, who missed qualifying for the Rio 2016 Olympics by finishing as the third German pair on the Copacabana ranking list with only two berths available for the European country in the Summer Games competition, dropped a 2-1 (21-14, 17-21, 17-15) decision to compatriots Victoria Bieneck and Julia Grossner in a 48-minute country quota match in the first of seven days of competition at the A1 Major Klagenfurt.
Joining Bieneck and Grossner as country quota winners Monday were Natasa Fekonja/Nina Lovsin of Slovenia and Natalia Dubovcova/Nina Herelova of the Slovak Republic. Fekonia and Lovsin scored a 2-0 (21-18, 23-21) win in 35 minutes over Nina Kontrec/Mojca Pene while Dubovcova/Herelova Slovak Republic defeated Andrea Bojnanska/Tina Turnerova 2-0 (21-16, 21-10) in 29 minutes.
All three teams winning Monday on an A1 Major Klagenfurt outside court Monday at the University of Klagenfurt will be competing Tuesday with 29 other pairs for the remaining eight spots in the women’s Main Draw at the $800,000 event. The women’s “money” schedule features pool play Wednesday and Thursday, elimination bracket contests Friday and medal matches Saturday.
In losing for the first-time in three FIVB World Tour matches with Bieneck and Grossner, Holtwick and Semmler failed to add to their FIVB World Tour ranking for the 2015-2016 calendar season as the German pair has 4,620 points to fill currently the No 3 spot on the list. Compatriots Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst are No. 1 with 5,180 points followed by April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings of the United States second with 4,730 points.
Holtwick and Semmler currently hold a 400 point lead over rivals Karla Borger/Britta Buthe (4,220 points) for the second German spot. With Borger and Buthe entered in the A1 Major Klagenfurt before heading to Rio for next month’s 2016 beach volleyball Olympic competition on Copacabana, the German pair can will add 160 points to their total by signing in Tuesday evening at the tournament’s women’s preliminary inquiry.
Ludwig and Walkenhorst, who placed second at the inaugural Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals last October in the United Sates on Fort Lauderdale beach in south Florida, will also gain another 160 points as they will also be competing in the A1 Major Klagenfurt before heading to Rio for the Olympics Sunday.
Borger and Buthe, who beat out Holtwick and Semmler’s bid for a second opportunity to compete in the Olympics, can pass Holtwick and Semmler on the ranking list with a quarter-final finish or better this week as the A1 Major Klagenfurt is the next to last points event on the 2015-2016 FIVB World Tour calendar.
Following the Rio 2016 Olympic Games where the competition will being August 6 and conclude with the women’s finale August 17 and the men’s medal matches August 18, the last points event on the FIVB World Tour schedule for this season will be held August 23-28 in the United States with a stop in southern California in Long Beach.
With $500,000 in prize money be awarded with $100,000 going to the winning teams, a total of 27 men’s and 34 women’s teams are still in the running for berths in the second annual Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals. Defending World Tour Finals champions Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt and Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca are currently ranked among the top eight teams on the men’s and women’s international ranking lists, respectively.
Based on their pool performance, each team in the groups will advance to the elimination rounds where the winning pool pairs will receive a bye into the quarterfinals.
The men’s country quota matches at the A1 Major Klagenfurt will be played Tuesday afternoon with the qualifier Wednesday to determine the eight spots in the Main Draw. The men’s “money” schedule features pool play Thursday and Friday with, elimination bracket contests Saturday and medal matches Sunday.