Back in Cyprus after a one year absence, Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) beach volleyball includes on its 2016 FIVB calendar the FIVB U19 Beach Volleyball World Championships. The 14th ever double-gender U19 age group event will be held July 26-31 in Larnaka as the FIVB produces four age-group world championships for beach volleyball held bi-annually.
The Cyprus Volleyball Federation has hosted several FIVB Challenger and Satellite events and this will be just the third FIVB international event held in Larnaka as the city presented the 2012 FIVB U19 World Championships and the 2014 FIVB U21 World Championships.
Part of the massive international platform for the FIVB Beach Volleyball next gen stars, the FIVB Beach Volleyball U19 World Championships started in 2002 and has been held every year except 2014 making it the second oldest of the four FIVB age-group events.
Winning the men’s FIVB U19 World Championships in 2014 in Porto, Portugal were Brazil’s Arthur Mariano/George Soto while the women’s 2014 FIVB U19 World Championships gold medal was won by Brazil’s Eduarda Lisboa/Andressa Ramalho. It was the second straight year that Lisboa won the FIVB U19 World Championship.
In the first 13 years of the FIVB Beach Volleyball U19 World Championships--in U19 men’s competition, Poland has 11 final four placements and nine total medals including four gold medals. Other countries with men’s gold medals have been Germany with three, Brazil with two and with one each has been Estonia, Lithuania, Slovenia and the United States.
In the first 13 years of the U19 women’s championships, Germany leads with 12 final four placements and 10 total medals including three gold medals. Other countries with women’s gold medals have been Brazil with three, the Netherlands and Poland with two each and with one each have been Australia, Lithuania and the United States.
At the 2012 FIVB U19 World Championships in Larnaka, Poland’s Michal Bryl/Kacper Kujawiak won the men’s gold medal while winning the women’s gold medal was Lithuania’s Ieva Dumbauskaite/Monika Povilaityte. Poland’s Bryl/Kujawiak defeated compatriots Lukasz Kaczmarek/Sebastian Kaczmarek in three sets. Lithuania’s Dumbauskaite/Povilaityte won the first women’s FIVB gold medal for their country by defeating Poland’s 2011 FIVB U19 world champions Karolina Baran/Katarzyna Kociolek in two sets.
Besides the U19, the other long-standing age-group world championships is the U21 competition. The 2016 FIVB U21 World Championships, being held for the 15th time, will be held May 11-16 in Lucerne, Switzerland.
The second FIVB U-17 World Championships, the newest of the fourth age-group world championships produced by the FIVB, will be held July 12-17 in Cabo Frio, Brazil. Acapulco, Mexico hosted the inaugural championship for this age group in 2014. Held in both 2013 and 2014 the FIVB U23 World Championships is not on the FIVB calendar this year.
The FIVB age-group world champions have been expanded to four and remain as a key element that FIVB President Dr Ary S. Graça F° and his leadership team has for FIVB international beach volleyball.
Larnaka is the third largest city on the southern coast of Cyprus behind Nicosia and Limassol. Larnaka has a population of nearly 75,000 and is the island's second largest commercial port and an important tourist resort. The island's largest airport, Larnaka International Airport is located on the outskirts of the city to the south. The city of Larnaka is well known for its picturesque seafront, which includes rows of palm trees. Larnaka Marina is one of the four official entry points, by sea, to Cyprus.
The age-group FIVB World Championships have historically seen many of the young stars of today building their experience level to advance up the ladder in international competition. This year’s 2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour for professional athletes started last October and will end this October and the showcase event on the FIVB calendar will be the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Brazil in August.
The format of all the FIVB Beach Volleyball international tournaments – whether pro or age group FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships, FIVB Beach Volleyball Grand Slam or FIVB Beach Volleyball Open – are the same, featuring pool play followed by single elimination knockout rounds.