2016-10-21 14:35:00 CEST

When the World Tour went to China

Our latest round-up of the 2016 season on the sand

Kerri and April were smiling during their two-week trip to China. Photocredit: Mihai Stetcu.Kerri and April were smiling during their two-week trip to China. Photocredit: Mihai Stetcu.

It was wet, it was windy and it was wild. If you have a picture of beach volleyball in your head this was not it!

Yes, the weather was not for the faint-hearted in China as the FIVB World Tour hitched up in the Far East for two tournaments in the space of two weeks.

The Xiamen Open and Fuzhou Open took center stage for the stars of the World Tour in April but the grey skies, gale-force winds and pouring rain were soon forgotten as the stars strutted their stuff on the sodden sand.

In Xiamen, the story of the week was the brilliant performance of Austrian girls Steffi Schwaiger and Babsi Hansel who stunned Americans April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings in the semifinals. The underdogs then went onto clinch silver in the final won by Swiss duo Forrer/Vergé-Dépré.

In the men’s tournament, Spanish stars Herrera/Gavira fought back to win gold in the final against Americans Hyden/Bourne, while Mexicans Virgen/Ontiveros took bronze from under the noses of Russians Semenov/Krasilnikov.

Mother Nature doesn’t stop for beach volleyball – in Klagenfurt in the summer, play almost came to a standstill – and despite the best efforts of bad weather the players set off up the Chinese coast to Fuzhou.

And the fun continued – especially for Herrera/Gavira and Ross/Walsh, as they earned themselves more quick-fire places on the podium.

There wasn’t to be gold this time for the Spanish boys – no, that honor went to Americans Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena in Fuzhou. Instead Herrera/Gavira had a bronze while silver was won by Italians Lupo/Nicolai.

Kerri and April added to their bronze in Xiamen with the number one spot on the podium after beating Germans Laboureur/Sude in the final. And just like there was in the Xiamen, there was another medal for the Swiss to celebrate as Heidrich/Zumkehr won the bronze medal.

Just like that, in a flash, two weeks in China were over and the beginning of the first Swatch Major Series tournament of the season was only two months away!

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