Zhongwei, China, September 13, 2018 - The second event for qualifying for the beach volleyball competition at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games begins here Friday with 19 teams from eight countries competing for the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour gold medal.
After a week off, the FIVB World Tour resumes with the women’s-only Zhongwei Open as the international circuit stages the first of three events in the next month in the Asian country after opening the 2018-2019 season with tournaments in Hungary (Siofok) and France (Montpellier).
Following the $25,000 Zhongwei Open, China will host double-gender FIVB stops in Qinzhou (September 30-October 4) and Yangzhou (October 10-14) as the Asian country returns to the World Tour calendar for the 21st-straight season since staging its first event in 1998 at Dalian.
The inaugural Zhongwei Open begins with pool play on Friday followed by elimination rounds on Saturday and semifinal and medal matches Sunday where the winning team will share the $4,000 first-place prize.
Host China will have eight teams in the 378th FIVB event since the start of the women’s World Tour in 1992. With the Zhongwei Open being the 43rd World Tour women’s tournament in China, the host country will be seeking its seventh women’s title along with adding to their 22 medals already won in the Asian Country.
Two-time Olympian Chen Xue, who has won four of her 17 FIVB World Tour gold medals at Chinese events, will be one of the featured players in the Zhongwei Open. The 29-year old Xue, who will be competing in her 28th FIVB event in China, will be paired with 24-year old Fan Wang as the third-seeded team in the Zhongwei Open.
Only Brazil (32 medals, 14 titles) and the United States (31, 12) have placed on more podiums than host China as Zhongwei becomes the 15th site in the Asian country to host a women’s FIVB World Tour event. The United States will have three pairs competing in the Zhongwei Open with Brazil entering one team – second-seeded Elize Maia/Maria Clara Salgado
While the 33-year-old Elize Maia will be playing in her first-ever FIVB World Tour event in China, Salgado will be appearing for her 18th time as she seeks her third podium placement in the Asian country after winning the bronze medal twice with her sister (Carolina) in Shanghai (2009 and 2013).
Xue and Salgado rank among the all-time women’s leaders in match wins. Xue is tied for 11th on the list with Carolina Salgado with 478 match wins (664 matches, 72.0 winning percentage). Maria Clara Salgado is No. 15 on the list with 441 victories (708 matches, 62.3 winning percentage).