Bandar Anzali, Iran, October 15, 2018 – The last of three consecutive one-star events in Iran on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, dubbed the Caspian Sea Series, will take place in Bandar Anzali from Tuesday, October 16, through Friday, October 19.
With each event, the popularity of the Caspian Sea Series has been growing. As many as 26 pairs from 11 different countries have signed up to play at Bandar Anzali, each of them hoping for World Tour honours and a larger share of the US$ 5,000 prize money. A 16-team main draw will feature a modified pool play system with the top three teams in each four-team pool progressing into the single elimination stage. The pool winners will advance directly to the quarterfinals, while for the pool runners-up and the third-placed duos one additional elimination round will take place before the quarters. With 12 duos seeded directly into the main draw, the remaining four spots will be contested in qualifications to be played on Tuesday.
Having finished fifth at Babolsar last week, Poland’s Kacper Kujawiak and Mateusz Paszkowski are once again in the lead of the preliminary entry-point seeding for Bandar Anzali. 24-year-old Kujawiak, 2014 U21 world champion, 2012 U19 world champion and 2015 U22 European champion, and 21-year-old Paszkowski are striving for their first podium finish on the World Tour.
The top three on the list is completed by the previous two champions in the Caspian Seas Series, both from Iran. Last week’s first-time title winners at Babolsar, Rahman Raoufi and Abolhamed Mirzaali, will compete for their second gold on the Tour. The Iranian standouts played in the final at Bandar Torkaman two weeks ago as well. Overall, they have medaled at four of their five World Tour appearances, including one more silver and one bronze.
Bahman Salemiinjehboroun and Arash Vakili, who won their maiden World Tour medal as a team - gold at Bandar Torkaman, come in third on the preliminary seeding. They finished fifth at Babolsar and hope to rebound for another podium result at Bandar Anzali. Salemi has one silver and one bronze to his name, but those came in partnership with his previous teammate Raoufi.
Among the 12 duos seeded directly into the Bandar Anzali main draw, hosts Iran are represented by a total of five teams. In addition to the Polish pair, they are in the company of two duos from Kazakhstan and one each from Oman, Slovenia, Sweden and Italy.