The world’s best beach volleyball teams are gathering this week to play a world-level tournament in Ostrava for the fourth time. The unique venue in Czechia’s third largest city will host the second Elite16 event on the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour from May 25 through 29, after welcoming 4-star competitions in 2018, 2019 and 2021, and turning into an iconic stop on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour.
Ostrava to welcome world’s elite
Perusic/Schweiner and Stam/Schoon lead the seeding for this week’s Elite16 event
Published 01:07, 24 May 2022
Set up at the ironworks of the Lower Vitkovice industrial heritage site, the grounds of a former coal mine, coke oven and blast furnace operation, Ostrava has certainly been one of international beach volleyball elite’s favourite venues since 2018, when the first World Tour event was held there.
The players have been delighted not only by the unique surroundings at Lower Vitkovice, but also by the fantastic Ostrava spectators who fill up the centre court stands. It was that home crowd that cheered Czech heroines Barbora Hermannova and Marketa Slukova on as they celebrated victory in 2018. Brazil’s Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda (Duda) Santos Lisboa and USA’s Kelly Claes (now Cheng) and Sarah Sponcil won the 2019 and 2021 women’s tournaments, respectively. Exactly one member of each of these three duos will return to Ostrava for the 2022 edition with a new partner.
The amazing ambience created by the spectators at Lower Vitkovice must have had something to do with the successful campaigns of Ondrej Perusic and David Schweiner too. The best men's Czech pair reached the semifinals in 2018 and the finals in 2019 and 2021. This year, they are the top-seeded team in the men’s draw, aiming at their first gold at this friendly venue.
“For us, the tournament in Ostrava is one of the two highlights of the season. It will be followed by the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship in Rome. It was these two peaks that we have specifically prepared for.” Ondrej Perusic (CZE)
The list of 12 men’s duos already seeded in the main draw also includes 2021 champs Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands and 2019 winners Anders Mol and Christian Sorum of Norway, while Spain’s Adrian Gavira and Pablo Herrera, who topped the Ostrava podium in 2018, will try their luck in Wednesday’s qualifiers. Qatar’s Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan, who won the only previous Elite16 tournament in Rosarito, will try to defend that title in Czechia as the second-seeded team.
The women’s main draw bracket will be led by the number one team in the FIVB World Ranking, Rosarito winners Katja Stam and Raisa Schoon of the Netherlands, while the runners-up of the previous Elite16 tournament, Latvia’s Anastasija Kravcenoka and Tina Graudina will be seeded second in Ostrava. Rosarito bronze medallists Talita Antunes and Rebecca Silva are one of five Brazilian duos on the main draw list, while the home country will be represented by Barbora Hermannova and Marie-Sara Stochlova.
A total of 56 teams (28 men’s and 28 women’s pairs) from 19 different countries are set to take to the two competition courts in Ostrava and battle it out for their share of the USD 300,000 prize purse. In each gender, 16 pairs will engage in knockout qualifications to determine the four that will complete the 16-duo main draw line-up. The main draw teams will be split into four round-robin pools, with the pool winners and pool runners-up advancing to the quarterfinals en route to Sunday’s medal matches.
Ostrava, a city in north-eastern Czechia, near the border with Poland, with a population of almost 300 thousand people, is one of the country’s four venues to have hosted world-level tournaments. The other three Czech cities to have previously welcomed events are Prague, Brno and Karlovy Vary.