Porec, Croatia, June 29, 2016 - With a little over five weeks to go until the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, 14 of the 22 women’s teams that have secured their Beach Volleyball chairs on Copacabana being played here Wednesday in the US$800,000 Porec Major.
With action on five courts at three sites, the second annual Porec Major will provide residents and visitors in this Croatian resort town with a preview of things to come at the Rio quadrennial which will be played on iconic Copacabana from August 6 through August 18 with 24 women’s and 24 men’s pairs competing.
At Tuesday’s late morning media conference, London 2012 Olympic gold medal winner Julius Brink of Germany offered his thoughts about this week’s competition where men’s qualifying action will be staged Wednesday with eight pairs advancing to Thursday’s opening Main Draw rounds.
“The teams that are playing here will be competing for gold, silver and bronze in Rio,” said Brink, who will be handling sideline reporting and interviews for the television broadcasts at the SWATCH Major Series event. “The players here are at the best in the world!”
With the 32-team women’s schedule featuring eight pools of four teams each, six of the eight groups will have two Olympic-bound pairs. The top three tandems from each pool advance to the 24-team elimination bracket. The group winners will earn a first-round “bye” for elimination and will play their first “knock-out” matches Friday.
The second- and third-place finishers will begin the elimination play Thursday afternoon. After two elimination rounds Friday for the women, the semi-final and medal matches will be played Saturday on the Porec Major center court. The winning team Saturday will share the $57,000 first-place prize.
Host Croatia will have three teams in the Main Draw for women. Croatian Volleyball standout Samanta Fabris will be making her FIVB World Tour debut Wednesday with Sara Radanovic as the pair will play their first Pool A match against defending Porec Major champions Talita Antunes and Larissa Franca.
At Tuesday press conference, the 24-year old Fabris said she is “glad to be here and I’m looking forward to playing with the best players in the world - even though I am not used to playing Beach Volleyball. This tournament is one of the most important events in this country. This is my first tournament so I hope for us in the future we can come again. This year we will try our best for sure.”
Here is a list of Olympic-bound teams competing in the Porec Major.
Pool A - Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca, Brazil, Jamie Broder/Kristina Valjas, Canada
Pool B - Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst, Germany
Pool C - Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas, Brazil, Elsa Baquerizo/Liliana Fernandez, Spain
Pool D - Heather Bansley/Sarah Pavan, Canada, Marta Menegatti/Viktoria Orsi Toth, Italy
Pool E - Madelein Meppelink/Marleen Van Iersel, Netherlands, Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat, United States
Pool F - Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy, Australia, Isabelle Forrer/Anouk Verge-Depre, Switzerland
Pool G - Karla Borger/Britta Buthe, Germany, Fan Wang/Yuan Yue, China
Pool H - Joana Heidrich/Nadine Zumkehr, Switzerland