Bansley and Ross: Players to Watch at World Championship
LAUSANNE Switzerland, January 29, 2019 – Beach volleyball will
be front and centre of the sporting world when the Hamburg 2019
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships run from June 28 to
As well as the glory of being named world champions the winners
will also claim a purse of $1million and earn their National
Olympic Committee a place at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games beach
Hamburg 2018 is the second time that Germany has hosted a World
Championships, following the Berlin 2005 edition.
The 13,000-capactiy Rothenbaum Stadium will host the action as
48 teams per gender seek to succeed Laura Ludwig and Kira
Walkenhorst as women’s world champions and here are three
players to look out for in the build-up to the women's
Heather Bansley, Canada
Ontario native Bansley will be in confident mood as the
countdown to Hamburg 2018 draws ever closer. Over the past two
seasons she has struck up a strong partnership with Brandie
Wilkerson that ensured that they began 2019 top of the FIVB
Beach Volleyball World Rankings.
Hamburg 2019 will be the 31-year-old's fourth World
Championships and second alongside Wilkerson after the pair
reached the quarterfinals at the Austria 2017 edition.
That year was their first in tandem after they teamed up for the
Toronto 2016 FIVB World Tour Finals, and they ended the year
having failed to finish on a World Tour podium.
In 2018 they hit their stride midway through the year and
continued to build as the months passed by.
By the time the year ended they had won three FIVB Beach
Volleyball World Tour gold at the Warsaw 4-Star, Las Vegas
4-Star and Chetumal 3-Star, as well as a silver and two bronze
to show they know exactly what it takes to claim the top prizes.
April Ross, USA
April Ross has dipped into her past to give her and Alexandra
Klineman the best shot at World Championships glory.
The 36-year-old won gold at Stavanger 2009 alongside Jennifer
Kessy and since the start of 2018 Kessy has been coaching Ross
Ross and Klineman teamed up under Kessy’s stewardship at the
start of 2018 and made an immediate impact as they went from the
qualifiers to gold at The Hague 4-Star.
Injuries stopped the pair from adding to their total until the
end of 2018 when they won gold at the Yangzhou 4-Star.
Four years ago Ross and Lauren Fendrick won silver at Austria
2017, to add another major tournament medal to her collection.
She and Kessy were silver medallists at the London 2012 Olympic
Games, and four years on she won bronze with Kerri
Walsh-Jennings at Rio de Janeiro 2016.
Agatha Bednarczuk, Brazil
Agatha has happy memories of Hamburg, having finished on the
World Tour Finals podium in 2017 and 2018.
In 2018 the Rio de Janeiro native and Eduarda ‘Duda’ Santos
Lisboa showed that they were Brazil’s leading team by winning
gold one year on from winning silver.
If that isn’t enough to put them among the tournament favourites,
there is also the fact that the 35-year-old Agatha knows exactly
what it takes to win a World Championships after she and Barbara
Seixas won gold at the Netherlands 2015 edition.
Agatha and Duda joined up in early 2017 and while they finished
the year with one World Tour gold and three bronze, they were
left disappointed at Vienna 2017 where they left with a
They made amends in 2018 when they added another World Tour
gold, silver and bronze to their collections and then defeated
the Czech Republic’s Marketa Slukova and Barbara Hermannova in
the Hamburg 2018 gold medal match.
There may be a 15-year gap between Agatha and Duda, but their
mix of experience and youthful vigour is proving a highly
successful combination, with another golden day in Hamburg top
of their priorities for the season ahead.