Challenge - La Paz, MEX - 2023 - Beach Pro Tour 2023 season - News


Swiss Esmée Böbner and partner Zoé Vergé-Dépré are the top-seeded team in the women's qualifier

The Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour is set to begin a two-week stay in Mexico on Thursday, when the first event held at the North American country, the La Paz Challenge, is set to begin with qualifiers for both genders.

As many as 60 teams (32 women’s, 28 men’s) will be in action on the four courts set up right by the Pacific Ocean with eight main draw spots in each gender available. The event offers $150,000 US dollars in prize money for the teams entered.

  • Watch the Beach Pro Tour La Paz Challenge live or on demand on VBTV.

The La Paz Challenge qualifiers will feature teams from 29 different countries, with four regions (NORCECA, South America, Europe and Asia) all represented in the opening phase of the Mexican event.

The top-seeded teams on both genders hail from Switzerland with Zoé Vergé-Dépré/Esmée Böbner sitting at the top of the 32-team women’s qualifier entry list and Marco Krattiger/Florian Breer leading the 28 male duos that will appear in the La Paz Challenge qualifier.

Vergé-Dépré, 25, and Böbner, 23, have a good track record of advancing from qualifiers in the Beach Pro Tour as they found their way to the main draw four times in six attempts. That wasn’t the case, however, in their only tournament in 2023, the Doha Elite16, where they fell to Brazilians Talita Antunes and Thamela Coradello in the second round of the qualifier.

Seeded second with the same 1,820 entry points as the Swiss, Americans Corine Quiggle and Sarah Schermerhorn are also among the strongest teams in the La Paz Challenge qualifier. The two won a silver medal at last year’s Espinho Challenge and will need a good finish this week in Mexico to replace the points earned with that result in the next events of the season.

China will have two new teams debuting at the La Paz Challenge qualifier this week. A two-time Olympian, 29-year-old blocker Fan Wang will have in 21-year-old Jie Dong her ninth different partner at the international level. A Tokyo Olympian, 24-year-old Xinxin Wang will have a new teammate in 30-year-old Lingdi Zhu.


Chinese Wang and Zhu will both start new partnerships this week in La Paz

On the men’s qualifier, the top-seeded Krattiger and Breer will try to advance from the qualifier for the first time on the Beach Pro Tour. The Swiss spent most of the 2022 season seeded directly into the main draw, but failed when they had to earn their spot through the qualifier at both the Rosarito and the Ostrava Elite16 tournaments.

The Europeans have, however, good memories from playing qualifiers in international events in Mexico as well. In 2021, their first full season as partners, Krattiger and Breer succeeded in three consecutive qualifiers during the events of the Cancun Hub of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour.


Krattiger and Breer advanced from three consecutive qualifiers in Mexico in 2021

Eighth-seeded Cubans Jorge Alayo, 21, and Noslen Diaz, 20, are strong candidates to be the dark horses of the La Paz Challenge qualifier. The two have limited experience at the international level, having played a single event in 2022 (the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship), but have emerged as a force in the NORCECA region, making podium appearances in the four continental events they played at in 2022.

Chileans Noe Aravena and Vicente Droguett, who are seeded 11th in the qualifier, are a team with the potential of making a deep run in the La Paz Challenge if they manage to advance to the main draw. They did exactly that just a year ago at the Tlaxcala Challenge, also in Mexico, when started in the qualifier and advanced all the way to the gold medal match, where they fell to Poles Michal Bryl and Bartosz Losiak.

With 44 matches expected to take place in the La Paz qualifier, the action should begin at 9:00 local time (16:00 UTC).