European beach volleyball enjoyed a lot of success in the inaugural season of the Beach Pro Tour ahead of The Finals in Doha, Qatar, which will take place from January 26-29. The continent is home to the four countries with the most men's medals won across all three tournament levels – Italy and Poland had 12 podium appearances each, the Netherlands claimed nine medals and Norway secured seven.
Year in Review: European men show strength in Beach Pro Tour’s first season
Published 08:00, 07 Jan 2023
As many as 33 different countries made it to the podium during the season and 21 of those nations were from Europe. Teams from the continent collected an impressive 92 of the 129 medals that were in play in 2022 and made it to the podium in all but one of the 43 men's events held in the period.
The first event on the calendar was held in March, in Mexico, with the Tlaxcala Challenge. The season continued uninterrupted for the next nine months and included nine Elite16s, ten Challenges and 24 Futures on all five continents.
Reigning Olympic and world champions Anders Mol and Christian Sørum of Norway were the most successful team at the Elite16 level, winning medals at five of the eight tournaments they played – gold in Ostrava, Paris and Cape Town and bronze in Rosarito and Uberlandia. They were the only men’s team to win multiple gold medals all season.
“We know it’s so hard to win tournaments because the level has never been higher, so we know that to win tournaments we have to play so many good matches,” Sørum commented after their victory in the French capital. “It feels good to be back and winning good matches against good teams. It happened this week and it’s a good feeling.”
Dutch Olympic bronze medallists Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen won four medals (silver in Rosarito, Hamburg and Paris and bronze in Ostrava), and with Christiaan Varenhorst and Steven van de Velde also taking bronze in Gstaad, that was five medals for the Netherlands at the Elite16 level.
The other five Elite16 men’s events were won by Qatar’s Cherif Younousse/Ahmed Tijan (Rosarito), Italy’s Paolo Nicolai/Samuele Cottafava (Jurmala), Chile’s Marco Grimalt/Esteban Grimalt (Gstaad), Poland’s Bartosz Losiak/Michal Bryl (Hamburg), Brazil’s Andre Loyola/George Wanderley (Uberlandia) and France’s Youssef Krou/Arnaud Gauthier-Rat (Torquay).
The Challenge tournaments were dominated by the new Polish duo of Losiak and Bryl. The Tokyo Olympians won three of the four events they played, taking gold in Tlaxcala, Doha and Espinho, ensuring their country was one of the four nations to secure three medals.
“Our last two tournaments were really bad, we couldn’t even break pool,” Losiak said after their victory in Espinho. “We came here and didn’t start well again, but we kept fighting and we felt we were playing better every match. And the same happened in the gold medal match. This means a lot for us and we hope we can keep this same level going forward.”
The only other duo to win more than one gold was Sweden’s David Åhman/Jonatan Hellvig, who triumphed in Kuşadası and at the second of two events held in Dubai. Brazil’s Andre/George (Itapema), the Netherlands’ Matthew Immers/Stefan Boermans (Agadir), Qatar’s Cherif/Ahmed (Maldives), USA’s Andy Benesh/Miles Partain (Dubai) and Italy’s Daniele Lupo/Enrico Rossi (Torquay) were the teams who topped the podium in the remaining five events.
European domination continued at the Futures level, where teams from the continent generated as many as 12 medal sweeps in 24 tournaments, 20 of which were held on European sand.
Poland collected more medals than any other country, earning eight, two more than Italy and three more than Austria.