Lausanne, Switzerland, January 12, 2020 - After staging an inaugural event this past week in Iran, the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour prepares for a second-straight first-time tournament this week in the South Pacific at Cook Islands starting Tuesday.
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The VolleyFest Cook Islands is the seventh men's event on the 2019-2020 FIVB World Tour calendar and the fourth within the Asian Volleyball Confederation where a total of 19 tournaments will be played during the 2020 international beach volleyball campaign.
Qualifying for VolleyFest Cook Islands is set for Tuesday at the Edgewater Resort and Spa Beach Volleyball Centre Ara Tapu Avarua District in Rarotonga followed by modified pool play Wednesday where the teams of Rai-Arii Enoka/Atatoa Herman and Brendon Heath/Raitiavatea Herman are scheduled to be the first-ever tandems from the Cook Islands to compete in a FIVB World Tour event.
Two rounds of the 12-team single elimination bracket will be played Thursday to set the field for Friday's final four matches. A total of 18 teams from nine countries are entered into the VolleyFest Cook Islands, including Australia (4 teams), Canada (2), Cook Islands (2), Hong Kong (1), Japan (3), New Zealand (1), Norway (1), Tuvalu (2) and the United States (2). Tuvalu joins Cook Island by entering teams in an FIVB World Tour event for the first time.
Host Iran swept the podium during the final day of play last Friday in Qeshm at the Dargahan Cup where 12th-seeded Alireza Aghajani and Javad Firouzpourbandpei upset top-seeded Bahman Salemi and Arash Vakili in the fields. The 21-year-old Aghajani and 22-year-old Firouzpourbandpei also defeated second-seeded compatriots Abolhamed Mirzaali and Rahman Raoufi in the semifinals.
Iran - Qeshm, January 7-10, US$5,000, FIVB men's event No. 464
1. Alireza Aghajani/Javad Firouzpourbandpei, Iran, $1,000
2. Bahman Salemi/Arash Vakili, Iran, $700
3. Abolhamed Mirzaali/Rahman Raoufi, Iran, $500
4. Saifeddine Elmajid/Benlouaer Ziad, Qatar. $400
Gold - Aghajani/Firouzpourbandpei def. Salemi/Vakili, 21-17, 21-15 (34 minutes)
Bronze - Mirzaali/Raoufi def. Elmajid/Ziad, 21-15, 21-18 (56)
Following this week's event, the FIVB World Tour takes a two-week break before resuming play with the first women's event on the 2020 portion of the 2029-2020 calendar from February 6-9 in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The next men's event will be February 20-23 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.