Lucerne, Switzerland returns to the world stage of Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) beach volleyball again this year when it hosts the FIVB U21 Beach Volleyball World Championships. The 15th double-gender age group event will be held May 11-16 in Lucerne as the FIVB produces four age-group world championships for beach volleyball held bi-annually.
After multiple CEV, FIVB Satellite and FIVB Challenger events in past years, Lucerne hosted a FIVB Open event last year on the FIVB World Tour for the first time. This will be the first FIVB age-group world championship held in Lucerne.
Long the developing sand of FIVB Beach Volleyball next gen stars, the last FIVB U21 World Championships were held in 2014 in Larnaka, Cyprus.
Winning the men’s FIVB U21 World Championships in 2014 in Larnaka was Poland’s Michal Bryl/Kacper Kujawiak while the women’s FIVB U21 World Championships gold medal was won by Canada’s Sophie Bukovec/Tia Mirac.
In the first 14 years of the FIVB U21 Beach Volleyball World Championships, Brazil has garnered the most final four placements, most medals and most gold medals in both genders. In U21 men’s competition, Brazil has 10 final four placements and nine total medals including four gold medals. Other countries with men’s gold medals have been Poland with three, Italy and Spain with two each and with one each has been Canada, Latvia and the Ukraine.
In the first 14 years of the U21 women’s championships, Brazil has been even more dominant with 11 final four placements and 10 total medals including six gold medals. Other countries with women’s gold medals have been Poland and Switzerland with two each and with one each has been Canada, the Netherlands, Russia and the United States.
Along with the U21, the other long-standing age-group world championships are the U19 competition and both will be held in cities that have hosted other FIVB age-group events in the past. The 2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball U19 World Championships will return to Larnaka, Cyprus on July 26 to July 31. First being held in 2002, this year will be the 14th annual U19 championships.
The FIVB U-17 World Championships, the newest of the fourth age-group world championships produced by the FIVB, won’t be held this year. 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.
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.