Lausanne, Switzerland, August 11, 2017 - Recently-crowned world champions Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst of Germany headline the list of eight teams named here on Friday as wild card selections for the 2017 Swatch Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals presented by Vodafone to be held from August 23 to 27 in Hamburg, Germany.Quick links:FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour 2017Swatch Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals presented by VodafoneFIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships Vienna 2017 presented by A1Top eight announced for World Tour Finals
The $800,000 World Tour Finals will feature 12-team fields for both men and women where the competition will start with pool matches followed by elimination bracket play. With Rothenbaum Stadium hosting an international beach volleyball event for the second-straight season, the winning teams in each gender’s competition will share the $100,000 first-place prizes.
Ludwig and Walkenhorst, who defeated Lauren Fendrick and April Ross of the United States in the final of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships Vienna 2017 presented by A1, will be searching for their second-straight gold medal at the World Tour Finals after the German pair topped the podium at the 2016 event in Toronto, Canada.
The reigning Olympic champions, Ludwig and Walkenhorst finished second in the inaugural World Tour Finals in 2015 where Talita Antunes and Larissa Franca of Brazil captured the gold medal in the United States at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park in south Florida.
Other women’s teams selected as wild cards for the 2017 World Tour Finals were Lauren Fendrick/April Ross of the United States, Heather Bansley/Brandie Wilkerson of Canada and Nina Betschart/Tanja Hüberli of Switzerland.
Host Germany received two men’s wild cards spots for Markus Böckermann/Lorenz Schümann (Schümann replaces Lars Flüggen, who is injured) and Armin Dollinger/Jonathan Erdmann. Other teams receiving wild cards were Ben Saxton/Chaim Schalk of Canada and Theo Brunner/Casey Patterson of the United States.
The wild card selections will join the eight men’s and eight women’s pairs announced on Tuesday that claimed World Tour Finals berths based on a tandem’s eight best finishes over a 365-days period with a maximum of two pairs per country per gender.
Headlining the automatic men’s qualifiers were the three medal winning teams at the recently-completed World Championships in Vienna: Evandro Goncalves/Andre Loyola of Brazil (gold), Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst of Austria (silver) and Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Nikita Liamin of Russia (bronze).
Other men’s teams earning automatic berths were Saymon Barbosa/Alvaro Filho of Brazil, Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai of Italy, Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak of Poland, Adrian Gavira/Pablo Herrera of Spain and Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena of the United States.
In addition to Talita/Larissa, other women’s qualifiers for the World Tour Finals are Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda "Duda" Lisboa of Brazil, Melissa Humana-Paredes/Sarah Pavan of Canada, the Czech Republic duos of Barbora Hermannova/Marketa Slukova and Kristyna Kolocova/Michala Kvapilova, Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude of Germany, Joana Heidrich/Anouk Vergé-Dépré of Switzerland and Summer Ross/Brooke Sweat of the United States.