Beach Bytes: Coronavirus leads to two more FIVB cancellations

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Beach Bytes 2/27/2020-World Championship 2019-Paolo Nicolai
Paolo Nicolai drives for the short serve/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

The coronavirus is proving to be deadlier and deadlier, and not just to human beings, but to beach volleyball tournaments. This week, the FIVB announced the postponement or cancellation of another two events due to the coronavirus, which has a death toll nearing 3,000.

The Iran three-star, which was supposed to take place next week, was postponed, as was the Siming four-star, which had been scheduled for the first week of May.

Siming was the third China event to feel the impact of the virus, as four-stars in Singapore and Yangzhou had already been cancelled or postponed. It is a particularly tough year for the FIVB to cancel or postpone events, as there are only four months left in Olympic qualification, which ends with the Rome five-star in mid-June.

“The cancellation of the event is a preventative measure to protect the health and wellbeing of our athletes, fans and officials, which must be the FIVB’s top priority,” the FIVB wrote in a statement. “Once again, the FIVB reiterates its sympathy for those affected by the outbreak, and stands in solidarity with the whole volleyball community in China. We will continue to work closely with the World Health Organisation and CVA, and to monitor the situation closely so that China can reassume its rightful place on the world volleyball stage as soon as possible.”

At this point, it’s not just China, as concerns over the Olympic Games themselves are spreading. A senior member of the International Olympic Committee told the Associated Press on Tuesday that if it proves too dangerous to host the Olympics, it’s possible that the Games could be cancelled.

However, the FIVB will move forward regardless, and already, some possible changes to the schedule have been suggested. These include upgrading the Jurmala, Latvia three-star to a four-star – in points only, not prize money – and moving the date of either Jurmala or the Itapema four-star so they don’t collide. This would add another four-star to the schedule, atoning for at least one of the Chinese cancellations.

Time will tell. As for now, the next major FIVB event will be the Doha four-star on March 9-13, which includes Billy Allen and Stafford Slick, Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb, Taylor Crabb and Jake Gibb, and Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena.

Dalhausser, Lucena face Italians Lupo, Nicolai — While the first real match of Dalhausser’s and Lucena’s 2020 campaign will not take place until the Doha four-star, they have scheduled one for Friday that will more than likely be better quality, and they only have to drive three minutes to get there.

For the past three weeks, Dalhausser has hosted Italians Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai for a training camp at his budding Orlando facility. On Friday, the final day of that training camp, they will play an exhibition as a tune-up for Doha, in which both teams are competing.

Lupo and Nicolai have already earned a spot into Tokyo via the Haiyang qualifying tournament this previous summer, so, in a way, this entire season is a tune-up for them leading into the Games.

Dalhausser and Lucena have work to do, as they are currently the third-seeded American team, behind Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb and Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb. The pair only have ten of the 12 minimum Olympic qualification period finishes, so they will likely vault into contention when they complete their minimums.

AVP lifts freeze in qualifiers — On Wednesday, the AVP confirmed that the qualifiers will not include the freeze rule, halting rally scoring on match point and turning to side out scoring, where players must score a point by earning it on their serve. Lifting the freeze will make the qualifier matches go by significantly faster, and at a more predictable pace. Ideally, it will also take a few points off the legs of those who qualify, leaving them at least a little fresher in the next day’s main draw than they otherwise would have been.  

McKibbins give behind-the-scenes AVP look — AVP Media Days was last week, on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, and the McKibbin brothers — Maddison and Riley — were there to conduct interviews with 30 AVP players.

They gave a little behind the scenes look at the Media Day, in what is at once a hilarious and educational video about their process and the content that we can look forward to seeing from the AVP and Wilson this coming season. No other explanation is really needed. We just recommend you watch the video, all the way to the end. You’ll be glad you did.

 In case you missed it:

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