LAUSANNE, Switzerland, 3 May 2002 - The 2003 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships are to be held October 21-26, 2003 on the one of the world's most famous beaches - Rio de Janeiro's amazing Copacabana, the President of the Brazilian Volleyball Federation has confirmed.
"We are going to do something really special; really great," said Dr. Ary da Silva Graça Filho, President of the Brazilian Volleyball Federation, speaking at the FIVB headquarters in Switzerland. "We will play under lights at night and have all kinds of interesting side events," Dr. Graça added.
For the Beach Boys and Girls whose athletic antics make this one of the most appealing and exciting of Olympic sports, the return to Rio is more than symbolic. Beach Volleyball has a cult following in the country and it is here that it is considered its spiritual home. Many World Tour players insist Brazil is their favorite stop on the World Tour and they will welcome the confirmation of the World Championship dates.
Brazil 2003 follows on the heels of two highly successful World Championship events in Europe - the 2001 Beach Party in the Austrian Alps - when organizers at Klagenfurt, Austria staged six days of sensational sand competition, and Marseille, France, two years earlier, another fantastic event that helped to set the benchmarks for future events. Both Marseille and Klagenfurt have evolved into Grand Slam World Tour stops, and are among the most popular events on the Tour.
The World Championships in Rio will be a key qualification event for the Athens 2004 Olympics, while Globo, Brazil's national television channel, will broadcast most of the competition live, with highlights packages distributed globally through international broadcasters.
Rio, which now produces some of the world's best players, has seen some of the sport's most magic moments when legends like America's Sinjin Smith, Randy Stoklos and Karch Kiraly electrified crowds with their amazing on-court skills during the 1990s.