Babolsar, Iran, October 8, 2018 – The second of three one-star events on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, part of the Caspian Sea Series in Iran, will get underway in Babolsar on Tuesday with the qualification stage. The main draw of this men-only tournament will take place from Wednesday, October 10, through Friday, October 12.
21 teams from nine different countries in Asia, Africa and Europe have registered to compete at Babolsar and battle it out for their 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.
The list of participants is highlighted by the presence of 24-year-old Kacper Kujawiak, 2014 U21 world champion, 2012 U19 world champion and 2015 U22 European champion. The Polish talent is teaming up with 21-year-old Mateusz Paszkowski for the second time at a World Tour event. Neither of them has ever won any medals on the Tour. The Polish duo lead the preliminary entry-point seeding for Babolsar.
The top three on entry points include two Iranian pairs, the two finalists in last week’s Bandar Torkaman one-star stop, the first event on the Caspian Sea Series. 40-year-old veteran Rahman Raoufi and his teammate Abolhamed Mirzaali, who come in second, have medaled at three of their four World Tour appearances, all at one-star events – bronze at Satun and silver at Aydin and Bandar Torkaman. While Raoufi has one silver and one bronze in partnership with Bahman Salemiinjehboroun too, at Babolsar he and Mirzaali will be playing for their first gold – as a team or individually.
First-time champions at Bandar Torkaman, Bahman Salemiinjehboroun and Arash Vakili, are next on the list. 29-year-old Salemi now has a complete set of World Tour medals – one gold, one silver and one bronze, while for his 28-year-old partner Vakili, last week’s gold was his first ever medal on the Tour.
Three more teams from Iran, two from Kazakhstan and one each from the Czech Republic, Oman, Slovenia and Thailand make up the remaining duos seeded directly into the main draw and awaiting four more additions emerging from Tuesday’s qualifications.