Qualification matches were the focus of the first day of the inaugural Snow Volleyball World Tour event ©FIVB

Sweden secured a place in the women’s main draw at the inaugural Snow Volleyball World Tour event in Austria.

Their team of Nina Grawender, Elisa Niederhaus and Talar Kirkor secured two victories on the opening day of the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) event in Wagrain-Kleinarl.

They opened with 15-8, 15-13 victory over Romania’s Andreea Gabriela Savastita, Andreea Iustina Corcoz and Madalina-Luminita Sandu.

The triumph set up a match with Svetlana Bekis Sturo, Lilija Frelik and Birute Aleknaviciute of Lithuania in the second round of qualifying.

A closely fought match required a third set with the Swedish team eventually emerging as 15-12, 11-15, 15-12 winners.

Victory saw the Swedish squad advance to the main round of the competition.

Czech Republic’s Anna Dostálová, Diana Žolnerčíková and Martina Jakubšová also progressed.

The trio secured a 15-11, 15-9 win over the German team of Michaela Bertalanitsch, Mira Heimrich, Sophia Kozlowski and Natascha Niemczyk.

In the men’s competition, Russia were among the teams to reach the main draw.

Their team of Vsevolod Bobrikov, Aleksandr Kramarenko, Vladislav Mikhalev and Vadim Smorchkov celebrated a three set win over Germany.

The quartet then overcame a Swiss squad in straight sets to advance.

A total of 35 teams - 20 women's and 15 men's - are taking part in Wagrain-Kleinarl in all with 18 countries represented from all five continents.

Brazilian legend Giba, winner of an Olympic indoor gold medal with his country at Athens 2004, features in the competition with Marcio Henrique Barroso Araujo.

The opening event in Austria is due to run until Sunday (March 31) and be followed by two more stops on the maiden World Tour.

Kronplatz in Italy is scheduled to play host between April 5 and 7 before Bariloche in Argentina rounds off the season from August 1 to 4.

The FIVB are promoting the discipline in the hope it may one day be added to the Winter Olympic programme.

The governing body are hopeful of having snow volleyball included as a demonstration event at next year’s Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne.