Fuzhou, China opening FIVB Beach Volleyball season for third straight year

The 2015 FIVB beach volleyball international competition calendar begins for the third straight year with the FIVB Fuzhou Open in China. The capital city of the Fujian province will host the men’s and women’s FIVB Fuzhou Open from April 21 to 26.

This will be the third time Fuzhou will host an FIVB Open and the city organised the AVC Beach Volleyball Continental Cup in June 2012 where Australia bagged first place in the women’s tournament and Japan in the men’s. In last year’s second FIVB Fuzhou Open World Tour event, the gold medal winners for men was Italy’s Paolo Nicolai/Daniele Lupo and for the women was USA’s Kerri Walsh Jennings/April Ross. A new team, Walsh Jennings is a three-time Olympic gold medallist with Misty May-Treanor and Ross won the silver medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games with Jen Kessy.

Fuzhou is one of eight Chinese cities to host an international FIVB beach volleyball event. The others include Beijing, Dalian, Lianyungang, Maoming, Sanya, Shanghai and Xiamen.

China has hosted 49 FIVB World Tour events up until 2014, including 20 men’s and 29 women’s tournaments. Host country China has won 19 previous medals on home soil, including two men’s silver medals, six women’s gold medals, seven women’s silver medals, and five women’s bronze medals.

In addition to the FIVB Fuzhou Open, the other stop scheduled in China on the FIVB World Tour 2015 will be the FIVB Xiamen Open (September 22 to 27). Both will be double-gender events.

The FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour 2015 calendar will include five FIVB Grand Slams, a new FIVB Swatch Beach Volleyball Major Series of three events, six FIVB Opens and a special FIVB Swatch Beach Volleyball Season Final in the United States.

The showcase event will be the $1 million FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships The Netherlands 2015.

A total of 14 countries will host events this year as the FIVB World Tour 2015 also begins the Olympic qualification process with all FIVB World Tour events (except the World Tour Finals) in 2015 up until June 13, 2016 counting towards the Olympic Ranking in order to determine the 15 vacancies for each gender that will take part in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

The 2015 FIVB World Ranking system will again include FIVB Beach Volleyball Grand Slam and Open events along with additional pre-approved events at the inter-continental, continental and national levels.

Implemented in 2013, the format of all the FIVB beach volleyball international tournaments – whether FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships, FIVB Beach Volleyball Grand Slams or FIVB Beach Volleyball Opens – are the same, featuring pool play followed by single elimination knockout rounds.

The 2014-2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Continental Cup has also returned as it starts its portion of the qualification process for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Brazil.

Fuzhou, (also formerly Minhow) is the capital and one of the largest cities in the Fujian province of the People’s Republic of China. Along with the many counties of Ningde, those of Fuzhou are considered to constitute the Mindong (literally East of Fujian) linguistic and cultural area.

Fuzhou's core counties lie on the north (left) bank of the estuary of Fujian's largest river, the Min River. Its population was 7,115,370 inhabitants as of the 2010 census, of whom 4,408,076 inhabitants are urban standing around 61.95%, while rural population is at 2,707,294 standing around 38.05 percent.