Amsterdam, the Netherlands, June 29, 2015 – As they do every two years the leading beach volleyball players will be aiming for a place on the medal podium at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships, but this year there is an extra incentive for the eventual winners of the Netherlands 2015.
For the first time the women’s and men’s gold medallists will earn a place for their federation at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games.
Two years ago Germany’s Karla Borger and Britta Buthe would have been one place off an Olympic berth after they won silver at Mazury 2013. While it is the federation, rather than the team that are awarded the place, for teams as competitive as Germany, finishing with gold will give the team a huge boost in their hopes of heading to Rio.
Borger and Buthe will be fighting for one of two places against Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst, Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler and Julia Sude and Chantal Laboureur, all of whom have tasted success on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour.
“This season is definitely different from the other seasons, but we don’t want to create any pressure,” Borger said. “We know we can play great beach volleyball and we know we’ve had some great results this year, we just have to make sure we are playing our best.
“It is great that we have four teams at this level and great for German beach volleyball.”
The men’s and women’s beach volleyball events in 2016 will feature 24 teams in each gender, with a maximum of two teams per National Olympic Committee per gender.
There are 15 qualified places through the Olympic Ranking, which is based on the FIVB World Raking points earned at the 12 best performance as a team in the World Championships, World Tour events and recognised Continental Tour Finals (best of the two results) from January 1, 2015 until June 12, 2016.
The final six places will come through the Continental Cup and the World Cup Olympic Qualification Tournament to ensure all five Confederations are represented on Copacabana Beach.
As host nation Brazil have a guaranteed berth in both genders, which means that qualification for the second place will be red-hot and a World Championships victory extremely valuable.
Emanuel Rego is someone who knows all about winning World Championships, having won gold in 1999, 2003 and 2011. He claimed gold in 2003 and at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games alongside his current partner Ricardo Santos and at 42-years-old is hoping for a fitting swansong in his home town.
“All the Brazilians want this for the Olympic places,” Emanuel said. “It will be tough, there are four Brazilians fighting for two places.”
Pablo Herrera was one half of the Spain team that Emanuel and Ricardo beat to win Athens gold and he competed with current partner Adrian Gavira at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Even though the pair won their first FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour gold together at the Moscow Grand Slam this season, he is not getting ahead of himself in the Netherlands.
“Of course the world champions should be straight in the Olympics,” he said. “As for us, we shall see.”