Beijing, China, August 9, 2008 - The seeds held for the first day of women’s Beach Volleyball competition at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games where teams from Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, Norway and the United States opened with pool play wins here Saturday at Chaoyang Park.
With U. S. President George W. Bush visiting with American players during training sessions at the 12,200-seat Chaoyang Park Beach Volleyball Ground in the morning, top-seeded Jia Tian and Jie Wang of China delighted the host country crowd with a 21-12 and 21-18 win in 42 minutes over 24th-seeded Simone Kuhn and Lea Schwer of Switzerland.
It was the Chinese’s fourth-straight win over Kuhn and Schwer with Saturday’s victory the third in 2008. Tian and Wang had won earlier meetings at Shanghai at the start of May and two weeks ago in the Swiss alps village of Gstaad. Tian and Wang placed second in Gstaad in their final Beijing event prior to the Olympic competition in the Chinese capita.
With both teams competing in Pool A, the Chinese will play Liesbeth Mouha and Liesbet Van Breedam of Belgium in their next match Monday while the Swiss face Susanne Glesnes and Kathrine Maaseide of Norway. The 12th-seeded Norwegians, who are competing in their second Olympics, defeated the 12th-seeded Mouha and Van Breedam 24-22 and 21-18 in Saturday’s opening Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Beach Volleyball match in 49 minutes.
Pool C winners Saturday were third-seeded Ana Paula Connelly/Larissa Franca of Brazil and 10th-seeded Tamsin Barnett/Natalie Cook of Australia. The teams of fifth-seeded Nicole Branagh/Elaine Youngs and eighth-seeded Stephanie Pohl/Okka Rau of Germany captured Pool E matches Saturday with an estimated attendance of 7,000 per match.
Barnett and Cook joined the Chinese and Norwegians in winning first session matches as the Australia scored the day’s only three-set women’s confrontation with a 21-8, 19-21 and 15-12 victory in 55 minutes over Alexandra Shiryaeva and Natalya Uryadova of Russia.
With Ana Paula in Beijing for less than 34 hours after replacing Juliana Felisberta Silva as Larissa partner, the Brazilians scored a 23-25, 21-17 and 15-5 win in 55 minutes over Cristine “Saka” Santanna and Andrezza “Rtvelo” Martins of Georgia. Juliana withdrew from the competition late Wednesday evening due to a right knee injury suffered in June in Paris.
Cook, who is competing in her four Olympics with a bronze in Atlanta (1996) and gold in Sydney (2000) will played the Georgians Monday while Ana Paula, a fifth-place finisher in the Athens 2004 Summer with Sandra Pires, and Larissa play Shiryaeva and Uryadova. Cook has now won 14 of 18 Olympic Beach Volleyball matches with three different partners.
Branagh/Youngs and Pohl/Rau will compete for the Pool E leadership Monday after the Americans scored a 21-19 and 27-25 win in 51 minutes over 20th-seeded Rebekka Kadijk and Merel Mooren of the Netherlands. Youngs is seeking her second Beach Volleyball Olympic medal after placing third in Athens with Holly McPeak after defeating Cook and Nicole Sanderson in the bronze medal match.
Fifth-place finishers in Athens after being eliminated by Youngs and McPeak, Pohl and Rau opened their second Olympics together win a 21-17 and 21-19 win in 47 minutes over 17th-seeded Milagros Crespo and imara Esteves Ribalta of Cuba.
Sunday’s women’s schedule will mark the 2008 Olympic debut of reigning Summer Games champions Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh of the United States along with fourth-seeded Chen Xue and Xi Zhang of China along with sixth-seeded Talita Antunes and Renata Ribeiro of Brazil.
After six days of pool play, the Beach Volleyball competition for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games will feature the men’s and women’s 16-team elimination brackets starting August 15. The women’s medal matches will be played August 21. With defending Olympic champions Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos in the field, the men’s final two contests being played August 22.