By Lisa Flueckiger, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The world’s best players in one of Brazil’s most popular sports, beach volleyball, are coming to Copacabana Beach starting on September 2nd in what is another Olympic test event. The competition ‘Rio Open’ is part of the FIVB World Tour and the thirteenth women’s and twelfth men’s stop on the 2015 international calendar.
The tournament will take place from September 2nd until September 6th, with the first day being reserved for qualification games. Six courts with stands for the audience have been built up on Copacabana Beach in front of the Avenida Princes Isabel street. Beach volleyball will also be played in Copacabana during the 2016 Olympic Games.
Led by four teams from host Brazil, including current FIVB world champions Alison and Bruno Schmidt, fifteen of the top 32-ranked pairs on the men’s circuit will be playing at the Rio Open. The other Brazilian pairs will be Evandro Goncalves/Pedro Solberg, Emanuel Rego/Ricardo Santos and Vitor Felipe/Alvaro Filho.
In the women’s tournament fourteen of the top 32 pairs on the FIVB World Tour will compete including recent world champions Agatha/Barbara, who are also from Brazil. The other top Brazilian competitors include Talita/Larissa, Maria Antonelli/Juliana Felisberta, Fernanda Alves/Taiana Lima and Carolina/Maria Clara.
The competition will start at 8AM on September 2nd with the qualifying matches. The main players are scheduled to enter the Rio Open starting on September 3rd at 1PM. Round of the last sixteen are set to start on September 5th at 8AM, although changes to the times might occur. All games are open to the public and free of charge.
The Rio Open is part of a series of test events ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games. Volleyball, triathlon, rowing, equestrian, as well as road cycling, sailing and marathon swimming already took place in Rio recently. Next up are the canoe sprint competition from September 4th-6th, archery challenge on September 15th-22nd and then BMX cycling from October 3rd to 4th.