The participants in the beach volleyball seminar organised in Kusadasi by the Turkish Volleyball Federation (source: tvf.org.tr)

Kusadasi will host the Beach Pro Tour from May 19-22 (Photo: tvf.org.tr)

Turkey has hosted numerous beach volleyball tournaments and at various venues around the country. From May 19-22, it will welcome the sport to another hugely popular seaside resort as the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour heads to Kuşadası for the fourth Challenge event of its inaugural season.

With a population of over one hundred thousand, Kuşadası is located on western Turkey’s Aegean coast, not far from the archaeological remains of ancient Ephesus. A huge draw for local and foreign tourists, Kuşadası will welcome the Beach Pro Tour after other Challenge-level tournaments held in Doha (Qatar), Itapema (Brazil) and Tlaxcala (Mexico).

· All the matches of the Kuşadası Challenge will be available to watch live or on demand on Volleyball TV.

In addition to numerous continental-level tournaments, Turkey welcomed as many as 11 events on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, starting as far back as 1996, when the Mediterranean city of Alanya on the southern coast of the country hosted its first FIVB Open for men. On that occasion, Argentina’s Martin Conde and Eduardo Martinez defeated Brazil’s Ze Marco de Melo and Emanuel Rego in the final. Two more single-gender tournaments were played in Alanya in 1997 and 1998.

The World Tour returned to Turkey in 2015 and 2016 for two editions of the double-gender Antalya Open, also on the Mediterranean coast. From then on, all Tour stops in the country featured both men’s and women’s competitions.

Turkey’s Kusadasi main draw representatives Hasan Mermer & Safa Urlu in action at the 2018 Aydin 1-star

Turkey’s Kuşadası main draw representatives Hasan Mermer & Safa Urlu in action at the 2018 Aydin 1-star

In 2018, Turkey organised as many as five World Tour events, starting with a 3-star in Mersin and following with 1-star stops in Aydin, Alanya, Manavgat and Samsun. While Mersin and Manavgat are also situated on the Mediterranean, the Samsun tournament was the first time the Tour visited Turkey’s Black Sea coast in the north. Aydin, which is some 65 kms inland from the venue of the upcoming Kusadasi Challenge, also held a 2-star tournament in May 2019, the last World Tour event hosted in Turkey.

Turkey also entertained the participants in the FIVB U19 and U21 Beach Volleyball World Championships in 2009 and 2010, respectively, both held in Alanya.

The Kusadasi Challenge to be played on four competition courts located at the Sevgi Plaji, or Love Beach, will be the first world-level beach volleyball tournament to take place on Turkey’s Aegean coast.

The event will feature 48 men’s and 48 women’s duos from 30 different countries and all five continental confederations battling for the prize purse of $150,000. 32 pairs per gender will get the tournament underway in Thursday’s qualifiers with eight joining the top 16 entries in a 24-team main draw to be played from Friday through Sunday.