Lausanne, Switzerland, February 7, 2018 - A total of 57 men’s teams from 29 countries have officially entered MICA Mall Kish Island Open as the international beach volleyball circuit returns to the resort island in the Persian Gulf off the southern coast of Iran for the third-straight season with $100,000 in prize money.
With competition scheduled for February 19-24, the 2018 MICA Mall Kish Island Open will crown a new champion as 2017 winners Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Nikita Liamin will not return to defend their title. The seventh men’s event on the 2018 international beach volleyball calendar will reward the winning team the $13,000 first-place prize.
The MICA Mall Kish Island Open begins with country quota matches February 19 followed by qualifying February 20 where eight pairs will advance to the 32-team Main Draw. The money rounds begin February 21 with the quarter and semifinals being played February 23 and the medal matches scheduled for February 24.
The host has four entries in the MICA Mall Kish Island Open, including Abbas Pourasgari/Arash Vakili, Aghamohammad Salagh/Abolhamed Mirzaali, Rahman Raoufi/Bahman Salemiinjehboroun and Mohammad Sadeghi Malati/Alireza Aghajanighasab
Competitors in the 2017 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Raoufi and Salemiinjehboroun placed 17th in the first two Kish Island stops. The Iranian pair's best FIVB placement was a bronze medal placement at last July's Agadir 1-Star stop in Morocco.
Iran's Rahman Raoufi (center) hits at the Kish Island net in 2017 as partner Bahman Salemiinjehboroun right) follows the action in a match against Australia.
With Krasilnikov and Liamin not participating, the featured team in the competition will be Martins Plavins, a bronze medal winner at the London 2012 Olympics Games and his new Latvian partner Edgars Tocs. The MICA Mall Kish Island Open will be Plavins and Tocs’ second FIVB event together as the Latvian pair captured January’s World Tour stop in The Hague.
Martins Plavins (left) and Edgars Tocs seek their second 2018 FIVB World Tour gold medal on Kish Island
Following the MICA Mall Kish Island Open, the FIVB World Tour resumes the following week in the United States with the Fort Lauderdale Major in south Florida from February 27 to March 4.