A day of rest separates Sunday’s Torquay Challenge final and Tuesday’s qualifications for the Torquay Elite16. Some of the teams that excelled in the first competition will now have to go back to square one and battle it out for one of the four main draw vacancies per gender as the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour double-header in southern Australia continues.
Torquay Challenge heroes start over in Elite16 qualifier
32 teams from 15 nations set to compete for main draw vacancies at the last top-level event of the year
Published 08:11, 28 Nov 2022
Two of the four Chinese women’s pairs that finished among the top eight last week will play in the Elite16 qualifiers on Tuesday. Torquay Challenge silver medallists Yuan Lvwen and Dong Jie come third down the qualification list on entry points and, after progressing to their first Challenge-level podium, are set to make their Elite16 debut. The pair started their Beach Pro Tour endeavours at the Futures level, claiming two golds and a bronze in four participations, before upgrading to Challenge and now to Elite16 appearances.
The women’s qualification entry list is headed by another Chinese duo, Zhu Lingdi and two-time Olympian Wang Fan, who are also about to appear at an Elite16 event for the first time. They too started out on the Beach Pro Tour at Futures tournaments (one gold) and moved up to the Challenge level, with last week’s fifth place their best result so far.
Slovenia’s Tjasa Kotnik and Tajda Lovsin, who finished ninth at the Torquay Challenge, come second on entry points for Tuesday. For them, it will be the third appearance at the Elite16 level, after Paris and Cape Town. In South Africa, they achieved their best Beach Pro Tour result so far, a fifth place. They also have two silver medals from Futures tournaments.
Further down the list, but also among the favourites to progress to the main draw, are Helena Havelkova and Marketa Slukova. After making their debut as a team at the Cape Town Elite16 earlier this month, the Czech stars reached the quarterfinals of the Torquay Challenge and are now set to compete at their third Beach Pro Tour event.
The men’s qualification list for the Torquay Elite16 tournament also features a number of well established or rising beach volleyball stars. As many as six of the eight duos that reached the round of 16 and registered a ninth-place result last week will join the race for the main draw vacancies on Tuesday.
Leading on entry points are Austria’s Christoph Dressler and Maximilian Trummer, also a new tandem that made their first Beach Pro Tour appearance as a pair in Torquay last week. Among the other five are Israel’s Eylon Elazar and Netanel Ohana, who achieved some surprising results at the Challenge tournament, like defeating the champions-to-be, Daniele Lupo and Enrico Rossi of Italy.
French prodigies and 2021 U19 world champions, 17-year-old Arthur Canet and 18-year-old Teo Rotar have been making progress on the senior Tour with a Futures silver and an Elite16 fifth place. Last week’s ninth place was their best Challenge-level result. In Tuesday’s qualifiers, they will be joined by another French pair, Julien Lyneel and Remi Bassereau, as well as by England’s Javier Bello and Joaquin Bello, and the Czech Republic’s Jan Dumek and Jiri Sedlak, all of whom also finished ninth last week.
37-year-old Martins Plavins is undoubtedly the most well known player to appear in the Torquay Elite16 qualifications. The three-time Olympian from Latvia, who claimed bronze at London 2012 and finished fourth at Tokyo 2020, is trying to make his way back to beach volleyball’s elite with a young teammate, 24-year-old Mihails Samoilovs, after returning from a long surgery related absence.
A total of 32 teams from 15 different countries will vie for the available main draw spots at the Torquay Elite16. In each gender, the qualifiers will consist of two knock-out rounds, with the four winners of the second-round matches advancing to Wednesday’s main draw action. The men’s qualifications on Tuesday will begin at 10:00 local time (23:00 UTC on Monday). The women will hit the courts at Elephant Walk on the Bass Strait coast as of 14:00 (03:00).