The first six tournaments of the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour's inaugural season have now been played. In under two months, five countries have been visited, one Elite16, three Challenge and two Futures events completed.
Storylines to follow as the Beach Pro Tour heads to Turkey
Here’s what to look out for in May
Published 08:00, 10 May 2022
Ten different teams have claimed gold medals so far and there has been a lot of movement in the FIVB World Rankings following the conclusion of each event, further increasing the competition between the top teams on the planet.
The Beach Pro Tour is now set to enter a busy three-week stretch. Before the month is over, there will be an Elite16 event in Ostrava, a Challenge-level tournament in Kuşadası and three Futures, in Madrid, Rhodes and Cervia.
Here are some interesting storylines to follow as the Beach Pro Tour begins the next leg of its journey.
The fight for the top spot in the men’s world rankings
It is still early in the season, but there has already been a lot of movement at the top of the Men’s World Ranking. In the last ten days alone, first place has gone from from Qataris Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan to Dutch pair Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen, and then to their compatriots Stefan Boermans and Yorick de Groot.
These three teams and the three that come right after them – the Czech Republic’s Ondrej Perusic/David Schweiner, Austria’s Robin Seidl/Philipp Waller and Brazil’s Andre Loyola/George Wanderley – are actually all fairly close in the ranking and will all compete in at least one of the events coming up, which could lead to more changes at the top soon.
The two-team battle for the first place in the women’s world rankings
Unlike in the men's ranking, on the women’s side there are two teams that have clearly stood out more than the others so far – the Netherlands’ Katja Stam and Raisa Schoon and Brazil’s Barbara Seixas and Carol Salgado. Unsurprisingly, they are the only teams above 4,000 points in the World Rankings, with the Dutch leading at 5,060 and the Brazilians ranking second at 4,580.
Both teams are entered to compete in the Ostrava Elite16 and are part of the same pool, meaning the clash between the two teams could have huge implications on their race at the top of the rankings.
Mol/Sorum and Brouwer/Meeuwsen return to the sand
Two of the top teams in the world, Norway’s Anders Mol/Christian Sorum and the Netherlands’ Brouwer and Meeuwsen will have been away from the sand for over two months when they compete at the Ostrava Elite16 at the end of May. The last tournament for both teams was the Rosarito Elite16, where they finished third and second, respectively, and met twice.
The Beach Volley Vikings have taken the time to practice and prepare for the rest of the season, at a training camp in Portugal. The Dutch had planned on competing at the Itapema Challenge in April, but an injury to Brouwer prevented them from making the trip to Brazil.
Olympic medallists aim for their first podium appearance
None of the three women’s teams that won medals at last year’s Tokyo Olympics have been able to do the same since the start of the Beach Pro Tour. American Alix Klineman is sidelined after having shoulder surgery and her partner April Ross joined Emily Day to take fifth at both the Tlaxcala Challenge and the Rosarito Eilte16. She will not compete, however, in any of the upcoming events.
Australia’s Taliqua Clancy/Mariafe Artacho and Switzerland’s Joana Heidrich/Anouk Verge-Depre, on the other hand, will both be back on the court soon and will try to win their first medals since Tokyo. The two teams came close to doing so at the Doha Challenge, where the Australians finished fourth and the Swiss fifth after the teams met in the quarterfinals.
Herrera and Gavira aim to medal at home
One of the longest-lasting partnerships in international beach volleyball, Spanish Pablo Herrera and Adrian Gavira were last been on a podium together in April 2019, when they took silver at an FIVB World Tour event. The Spanish have been partners since 2009.
Their wait could end as soon as this weekend, when the veteran Spaniards are set to compete in the Futures tournament that will take place in Madrid. The two are the top-seeded team and easily the most accomplished and experienced pair to take part in the event. They should be in a strong position to compete for the title if nothing unusual happens.