No relaxing on the “beach” at the smart Major Hamburg

Hamburg, Germany, June 7, 2016 - It was no relaxing day on the “beach” here Tuesday during the men’s qualifying rounds for the US$800,000 smart Major Hamburg where eight teams from eight countries advanced with two wins each to the “money” rounds for the FIVB World Tour stop.

Being played on four specially-created courts at the at the Am Rothenbaum stadium where more than 1,900 tons of sand was moved into the facility for the 30th and final men’s qualifying stop on the FIVB World Tour for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, host Germany secured one of eight berths for Wednesday’s opening Main Draw rounds.

Highlighting the qualifying for the inaugural FIVB Beach Volleyball event in this northern Germany city was the match between two host country pairs as 30th-seeded Lorenz Schumann/Julius Thole scored a 2-1 (21-13, 14-21, 15-9) win in 37 minutes over 14th-seeded Tim Holler/David Poniewaz to advance to the Main Draw.

“This is awesome," 19-year old Thole after the match.  “We were so lucky to get into the qualification as a reserve team,” said the 24-year old Schumann.  “And then we won the first game and now the second.  I don't know what happened here."  Thole added that the smart Major Hamburg “is our first FIVB World Tour tournament together and my first overall.  We can't believe it.  I can't find any words, it's awesome."

Schumann and Thole opened play with a 2-0 (21-15, 23-21) win in 38 minutes over third-seeded Murat Giginoglu/Volkan Gogtepe of Turkey to set up the Main Draw-qualifying match with Holler and Poniewaz.  “They were the favorites,” said Thole.  “We were much focused and had a lot of confidence from the first game.   We knew we could win.  And now we are so happy we made it."

With both players being from Hamburg, Schumann said “this is such a perfect spot for us, because all our friends and family and the Hamburg beach volleyball scene is here to help us.  Thanks everybody for the support!"

Schumann and Thole will now join compatriots Markus Bockermann/Lars Fluggen, Jonathan Erdmann/Kay Matysik and Bennet Poniewaz/Alexander Walkenhorst as the host country’s participants in the men’s smart Major Hamburg Main Draw where play starts Wednesday.

Other teams advancing from the qualifier Tuesday were top-seeded Michal Kadziola/Jakub Szalankiewicz of Poland, second-seeded Saymon Barbosa/Gustavo Carvalhaes of Brazil, fourth-seeded Martins Plavins/Haralds Regza of Latvia, sixth-seeded Billy Allen/Theo Brunner of the United States, ninth-seeded Georgios Kotsilianos/Nikos Zoupanis of Greece, 10th-seeded Dries Koekelkoren/Tom van Walle of Belgium and 12th-seeded Geir Eithun/Iver Horrem of Norway.

The smart Major Hamburg, the third of nine “big” events on the 2015-2016 FIVB World Tour calendar, will feature men’s and women’s pool play Wednesday and Thursday followed by elimination bracket matches Friday with three rounds for the women and two rounds for the men.  The women’s semi-finals and medal matches will be Saturday and the men’s “final four” contests Sunday.  The winning teams will share the $57,000 first-place prizes.

In addition the Hamburg event, other SWATCH Major Series events will be held in Croatia (Porec, June 29-July 3), Switzerland (Gstaad, July 6-10) and Austria (Klagenfurt, July 27-31).  The SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals will be held September 13-18 at a site to be determined.

Two of the four FIVB World Tour Grand Slam stops have been completed in Rio de Janeiro (March 8-13 on iconic Copacabana) and Moscow (May 24-29).  The final two events will be staged in Poland (Olsztyn, June 14-19) and the United States (Long Beach, August 23-28).


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