Agadir, Morocco, July 25, 2018 – The FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour returns to Morocco from July 26 to 29. After the men-only Agadir Open in October 2011 and the Agadir one-star double-gender event a year ago, the international beach volleyball circuit is back in Morocco’s largest seaside resort for its third event in the African country. The $50,000 two-star double-gender tournament will be held at Agadir's Plage Jour et Nuit on Morocco’s Atlantic coast.
A total of 50 teams (28 men’s and 22 women’s pairs) from 23 different countries, with all five continental confederations represented, have signed up to take part in the event. In the men’s tournament, a 24-team main draw will feature a modified pool play system with 16 teams progressing into the single elimination stage. With 18 duos seeded directly into the main draw, the remaining six spots will be contested in qualifications to be played on Thursday, July 26. On the women’s side, all 22 pairs will start their participation directly in the main draw pool play.
The winners of the 2017 Agadir one-star event
Nicolas Capogrosso and Julian Amado Azaad top the men’s preliminary seeding on entry points. Each of these Argentine players will be looking for his first World Tour medal. As a team, they have appeared on the Tour 11 times with a ninth place finish as their best result so far.
Next on the line-up are Arnas Rumsevicius and Lukas Kazdailis. After skipping the 2017 season, the young Lithuanians returned to the Tour in 2018 and achieved their best ever result – a fifth place finish at Kish Island.
Another pair from the Baltic states, Aleksandrs Solovejs and Rihards Finsters, complete the top three in the preliminary seeding. Solovejs and Finsters, partners from years ago, reunited for the 2018 season. For the team, the best finishes in their nine World Tour appearances so far are fifth places at Sydney and at Mersin. With Martins Plavins as a partner, Solovejs climbed a World Tour podium twice, winning one gold and one silver medal.
Two teams each from Austria and Germany and one each from Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Italy, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland make up the remaining 15 pairs seeded directly into the men’s main draw.
Ekaterina Birlova and Evgenia Ukolova, Klagenfurt Grand Slam winners in 2012, lead the way in the women’s draw. The well-seasoned Russian pair have five World Tour medals on their tally. However, their bronze from the Anapa one-star earlier this month came after a long “dry” period since their last podium finish, a first place, also at Anapa, in 2013.
Next on entry points are Lithuania’s Ieva Dumbauskaite and Urte Andriukaityte. This will be only the third appearance on the World Tour for them as a pair, after testing the sand at Espinho and Gstaad. 2012 U19 world champ Dumbauskaite is the more experienced of the two. With her long-time partner Monika Povilaityte, she also earned silver at the 2014 U21 World Championship and a couple of bronze medals on the World Tour, before teaming up with 21-year-old Andriukaityte earlier this month.
Tadva Yoken and Sigrid Simonsson are third in the women’s preliminary seeding. The Swedish duo have played together at nine World Tour stops with a couple of final four finishes as their best results so far.
One more Russian and three more Swedish pairs have registered to play at Agadir. Three teams from Italy, two each from Cyprus and Latvia and one each from Australia, Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Morocco, the Netherlands and Switzerland complete the list of 22 women’s participants.