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When Katja Stam and Raisa Schoon’s Cinderella story was unfolding during last year’s build-up to the Tokyo Olympics, who would have thought that just a few months later, the Dutch sensations would rise to the very top of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Ranking? Yet, here they are – 23-year-old blocker Stam and 20-year-old defender Schoon are the new world’s number one women’s team!

After reaching the finals of three stops on the 2022 Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour, and claiming an Elite16 gold in Rosarito and Challenge silvers in Tlaxcala and Itapema, Stam and Schoon have now collected 4,860 points and taken over the top of the ranking from Brazil’s Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda (Duda) Santos Lisboa, who are no longer competing as a team. Just before the start of the inaugural Beach Pro Tour season, the Dutch pair occupied eighth spot.

Raïsa Schoon Points Made Leader in Andressa Vitoria vs. Stam Schoon - Top Plays

With Agatha and Duda in second, the women’s top three is now completed by another Brazilian duo. By reaching the quarterfinals at the Itapema Challenge over the weekend, Barbara Seixas and Carol Solberg added 600 points to their tally for a new total of 4,100, jumping ahead of Switzerland’s Nina Brunner and Tanja Huberli and Canada’s Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes in the chart, while the rest of the top 10 remained unchanged.

Itapema winners Sara Hughes and Kelley Kolinske of USA picked up 800 points to climb 31 positions, from 57 to 26, with a total of 2,020 points, while bronze medallists Andressa Cavalcanti and Vitoria Rodrigues of Brazil rose 10 spaces, from 24 to 14, to a total of 2,700 points.

Itapema quarterfinalists Brandie Wilkerson and Sophie Bukovec of Canada and Thailand’s Varapatsorn Radarong and Tanarattha Udomchavee, who claimed the Songkhla Futures gold at home over the weekend, are new members of the women’s top 100, in positions 91 and 98, respectively.

Meanwhile, the two teams that reached the men’s final in Itapema now jointly occupy the number three spot in the World Ranking. Gold medallists George Wanderley and Andre Stein of Brazil, who were previously seventh, added 800 points to their tally, while runners-up Ondrej Perusic and David Schweiner of Czechia, previously sixth, earned 760. Both pairs have the same total of 4,360 points, just 40 short of second-ranked Olympic champions Anders Mol and Christian Sorum of Norway, who did not play in Brazil over the weekend. The number one team, Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan of Qatar, who also skipped the Itapema Challenge, are still way ahead on 5,760 points.

21-year-old Leon Luini and 24-year-old Ruben Penninga of the Netherlands, who produced a great run from the first qualification round all the way to the bronze medals in Itapema, made a giant leap in the ranking, from 222 on 300 points to number 70 in the world on 1,020 points.

Men’s Songkhla Futures gold medallists Carlo Bonifazi and Davide Benzi of Italy are another new member of the top 100, rising from 128 to 81 on a new total of 880 points.

The top 10 also has a new member. Reaching the Itapema quarterfinals produced 600 points for Americans Chaim Schalk and Theodore Brunner, lifting them three spots up to number nine on a new total of 3,500 points.

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