Songkhla, Thailand, April 12, 2024 – Big names from Australia, Iran, New Zealand, China, Japan, Vanuatu and Thailand have been confirmed for the double-gender AVC Beach Tour 23rd Samila Open, due to be held at the tranquil, beautiful and clean Samila Beach here from April 13 to 16, the Thai New Year period which was transformed into national holidays when nationwide celebrations are famous for the public water fights framed as ritual cleansing. 

Songkhla Deputy Governor Mr Amnuay Pinsuwan and Thailand Volleyball Association President Mr Somporn Chaibangyang jointly presided over the General Technical Meeting at BP Samila Beach Hotel & Resort on Friday to finally confirm the competition, refereeing and relevant issues ahead of the kickoff of the four-day event on April 13.

Attending as guests of honor were Honorary Life President of TVA Mr Shanrit Wongprasert, himself AVC Executive Director, and AVC Referees Committee Chairman Mr Songsak Chareonpong.

A total of 55 teams featuring 29 men’s and 26 women’s teams from 17 countries (Australia, Japan, Iran, New Zealand, Vanuatu, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Hong Kong China, Macao China, Qatar, Vietnam, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, China, India and Maldives) also joined the meeting to hear the key topics including competition rules and regulations from Technical Delegate Mr Kritsada Panaseri from Thailand, Referee Delegate Mr Aprelius Balebu from Indonesia and Ms Nattalida Sumdangdech from AVC Beach Volleyball Department.

At the end of the meeting, all participating teams received souvenirs including highly fashionable and extravagant floral shirts from the Songkhla Deputy Governor to be worn on Songkran Day, which falls on April 13. All players are allowed to join the fun-packed festival in a water fight at the hotel vicinity from 6pm. They can collect water in buckets, squirt guns and anything else they can find, then playfully splash water to each other. 

Meanwhile, Iran’s 13th seeds Abbas Pourasgari/Alireza Aghajanighasab, who claimed their first-ever AVC Beach Tour in Nuvali Open in Philippines last week, have their sights firmly on their second AVC Beach Tour gold in Songkhla. However, a strong challenge can be expected from Thailand’s top seeds Pithak Tipjan/Poravid Taovato, China’s second seeds Ha Likejiang/Wu Jiaxin, Australia’s third seeds Mark Nicolaidis/Izac Carracher and fifth seeds Paul Burnett/Jack Pearse and Kazakhstan’s 12th seeds Dmitriy Yakovlev/Sergey Bogatu.

The 25-year-old Pithak and 23-year-old Poravid of Thailand had already claimed their first BPT medal, a Subic Bay Futures gold in the Philippines in 2022 apart from picking up silver at the last year’s AVC Beach Tour Samila Open here, another silver at the last week’s Nuvali Open and bronze at the 2023 Asian Senior Beach Volleyball Championships in Fuzhou, China.

Reigning champions Ha/Wu from China had already claimed three BPT Futures gold medals including the last year’s Futures Mt. Maunganui in New Zealand, the Futures Coolangatta in Australia, the Futures Wenzhou Cangnan on home soil and an additional silver at the Hangzhou Asian Games. 

Third seeds Mark Nicolaidis/Izac Carracher also proved to be strong contenders. The Australian duo burst onto the international scene at the Gold Coast Beach Pro Tour Futures event in April, winning gold in their first international event as a pair, and finished a surprise ninth place at the 2022 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships.

Australian fifth seeds Paul Burnett/Jack Pearse, who claimed silver at the BPT season-opener in Mollymook and BPT Futures Coolangatta last month, and Kazakhstan’s 12th seeds Dmitriy Yakovlev/Sergey Bogatu, bronze medallists at the last year’s Hangzhou Asian Games, are also ready to prove their talents here in Songkhla.

In the women’s event, Australia’s 19-year-old Stefanie Fejes and Jana Milutinovic, 22, proved to be one of the strongest contenders to be reckoned with at this year’s Samila Open.

The Australian top seeds already had an amazing season with seven wins out of eight tournaments they took part in comprising the back-to-back Beach Pro Tour Futures Coolangatta, BPT Futures Mollymook, Australian Beach Tour Mollymook, Mahindra Australian Beach Volleyball Championships and the BPT Futures Nuvali Open. The superb duo also claimed gold for Australia at the Solomon Islands-hosted Pacific Games late last year aside from picking up silver at the BPT Futures Mt Maunganui in New Zealand. At the last week’s Nuvali Open, Fejes/Milutinovic had a perfect run, seizing gold without dropping a set to their respective rivals.

Australia’s second seeds Jasmine Fleming/Georgia Johnson, New Zealand’s Alice Zeimann/Shaunna Polley, Japanese third seeds Asami Shiba/Saki Maruyama and Vanuatu’s fifth seeds Linline Matauatu/Majabelle Lawac each can become a thorn in the Fejes/Milutinovic’s flesh.

Fleming/Johnson had claimed their first BPT gold in Geelong Futures last November and bronze at Australian Beach Volleyball Tour Mollymook and BPT Futures Mollymook in February. At the last week’s Nuvali Open, Fleming/Johnson succumbed to two-set loss to Fejes/Milutinovic in an all-Australians final to take silver.

Kiwis Zeimann/Polley, who captured the women’s gold at the 2022 Asian Senior Women’s Beach Volleyball Championship in Roi Et, Thailand, had already beaten Fejes/Milutinovic at the 2024 BPT Futures Mt Maunganui in the final clash to keep the title on home sand for two in a row.

Vanuatu’s Linline Matauatu/Majabelle Lawac recently lifted the trophy at the Queensland Beach Volleyball Tour Finals in Brisbane, Australia, while Japanese Shiba/Maruyama claimed bronze at the 2023 BPT Futures Seoul in Korea and finished fourth place at the last week’s Nuvali Open in Philippines.

In the men’s event, teams have been split into eight pools from A to H, with three teams apiece in Pools A, B and C. The other five pools feature four teams each. The women’s pools see three teams each compete in Pools A, B, C, D, E and F, while Pools G and H feature four teams apiece.

Teams will first play their pool preliminary matches, with only top two teams from each pool after the pool round-robin preliminaries both in men’s and women’s events advancing to round of 16. Quarterfinals will be held on Monday, April 15, while semifinals, third-place playoffs, gold-medal matches for men’s and women’s events as well as the awards presentation and closing ceremony will take place the following day.

On Saturday, April 13, the first day of the AVC Beach Tour 23rd Samila Open, the main draw competition will start at 8pm local time. At the end of Day 1, players and officials are allowed to join the water fight.










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