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Christian Sorum in “flying” mode

The reigning world and Olympic champions, Anders Mol and Christian Sorum of Norway lead the men’s entry list for the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Elite16 event taking place from August 10 through 14 in Hamburg. In fact, as many as 20 of the top 25 teams in the current FIVB Beach Volleyball World Ranking, including all of the top nine, will be present among the 28 pairs to compete in Germany.

12 duos from nine different countries have been seeded directly into the men’s main draw of the USD 300,000 (total for both genders) tournament. Another four teams will emerge from the 16-team qualification bracket to fill the remaining vacancies in the four main draw round-robin pools.

· Watch all matches at the Beach Pro Tour Elite16 event in Hamburg live on Volleyball TV.

Mol and Sorum will take the top seed in Hamburg as the team with the most entry points. In addition to the Beach Volleyball World Championships Rome 2022, the Beach Volley Vikings won one of the previous four Elite16 tournaments this year, claiming gold in Ostrava, and took bronze at another, the inaugural event in Rosarito. The Norwegian standouts, currently ranked number three in the world, will be chasing their third Hamburg medal. They won gold at the 2018 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Finals and bronze at the 2019 FIVB World Championship, which both took place in the city.

Mol and Sorum will share Pool A with eighth-seeded Bruno Schmidt and Saymon Barbosa of Brazil, who reached the semifinals at their rookie Elite16 appearance in Gstaad, and ninth-seeded Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands, who will be looking for their third Elite16 medal, after the Rosarito silver and the Ostrava bronze, as well as for their second Hamburg podium, after the 2016 World Tour Major silver.

The world’s current number one team, Andre Stein and George Wanderley of Brazil are seeded second in Hamburg. The World Championship bronze medallists will try to rebound after their unsuccessful trip to Gstaad last month in search of their second Elite16 podium. The Jurmala bronze was their only medal of this category so far. Andre and George will lead Pool B, which also features Jurmala winners Paolo Nicolai and Samuele Cottafava of Italy, seeded seventh, and Gstaad bronze medallists Christiaan Varenhorst and Steven van de Velde of the Netherlands. Both Andre and Nicolai, with different partners, were on the 2017 World Tour Finals podium in Hamburg, when the silver went to Brazil and the bronze to Italy.

Third-seeded Ondrej Perusic and David Schweiner of Czechia will lead Pool C in Hamburg to launch their campaign for a third Elite16 medal, after silvers in Ostrava and Gstaad. The world’s fourth-ranked team Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan of Qatar will also be in that pool. The Tokyo 2020 bronze medallists, seeded sixth in Hamburg, have already claimed two Elite16 medals, a Rosarito gold and a Jurmala silver. Among their first rivals will also be Estonia’s Kusti Nolvak and Mart Tiisaar, who reached the Jurmala semifinals.

Pool D will be highlighted by the presence of the world’s second-ranked team and Rome 2022 silver medallists Renato Lima and Vitor Felipe of Brazil, who will be after their first Elite16 podium. During the pool stage, they will be in the company of Chile’s Marco Grimalt and Esteban Grimalt, who won the most recent Elite16 gold in Gstaad and will be seeded fifth in Hamburg, and the home pair of Clemens Wickler and Nils Ehlers. At the previous international tournament in the northern German city, Wickler celebrated a 2019 World Championship silver together with his ex-partner Julius Thole.

The 16-team qualification bracket in Hamburg, featuring pairs from 10 different countries, will also be loaded with top-level international stars, like three-time World Tour season champions Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins of Latvia an example. Italy’s Adrian Carambula and Enrico Rossi are the top-seeded team in the qualifier's entry list, followed by Austria’s Robin Seidl and Philipp Waller, Spanish standout veterans Pablo Herrera and Adrian Gavira, who finished fourth in Ostrava, Poland’s Michal Bryl and Bartosz Losiak, who have already collected three Challenger golds on the Beach Pro Tour, came fourth at the Rosarito Elite16, and both medalled at the 2018 World Tour Finals in Hamburg with their previous partners. Eighth in the world, the Poles are the highest placed duo in the World Ranking to play in the Hamburg qualifiers.