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Olympic spikers set for Thailand Open

Narongchai Kunpluem, centre, mayor of Saensuk Municipality, with national beach volleyball players.

Narongchai Kunpluem, centre, mayor of Saensuk Municipality, with national beach volleyball players.

Thailand will host the last stop of the FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour, the PTT Bangsaen Thailand Open, at the seaside resort of Bangsaen, from October 23 to 28.



More than 60 teams will be in action, including many of the top women's beach volleyball players who competed at the London Olympics. Admission is free, and for the first time on the World Tour in Thailand, featured matches will be played in the evening under lights.

Current world champions and Olympic bronze medallists Juliana Felisberta and Larissa Franca of Brazil will battle it out for the year-end No 1 ranking with China's Xue Chen and Zhang Xi, who finished fourth in the Olympics and are the reigning champions of the Thai leg of the World Tour.

American Olympic silver medallists Jennifer Kessy and April Ross, current world No 5, have also entered, along with Olympic quarter-finalists Greta Cicolari and Marta Menegatti of Italy. The Schwaiger sisters, Stefanie and Doris, of Austria, Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler of Germany and Kristyna Kolocova and Marketa Slukova of the Czech Republic add more lustre to the star-strewn field.

Thailand, as hosts, get two automatic slots in the main draw, and these will be filled by the national No 1 and No 2, Varapatsorn Radarong/Tanarattha Udomchavee and Jarunee Sannok/Usa Tenpaksee. The Thais have been successful in Asia, with Varapatsorn and Tanarattha winning three Asian Tour events and the gold medal at the Asian Beach Games. Varapatsorn/Tanarattha are currently competing in the FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour event in Finland.

The Bangsaen Thailand Open powered by PTT is played over six days from 9am. Evening matches will be played from October 24 and 26.

The semi-finals on October 27 and final the following day will be held from 4pm to 6pm with live broadcast on both days on NBT and T-Sports channels. Supporting the main event are a number of activities including the PTT Schools Cup and PTT Beach Volleyball camps on the weekend and a large sponsor activity zone featuring sponsor booths, a beer garden and games and competitions for fans.

For more information, call (02) 3113414/5 or visit www.PentanglePromotions.com.




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