Less than three days after the spectacular curtain drop on the inaugural season of the Beach Pro Tour, the second edition of the global competition is set to get underway in Doha, Qatar. The new season will return to many of the great venues that welcomed the beach volleyball elite in 2022, but also visit a number of new exciting locations. The mercury is also certain to rise as those precious Olympic qualification points start trickling in on the road to Paris 2024.
Inaugural season is over, but Beach Pro Tour party continues
The 2023 season will also get Olympic qualification underway this week
Published 03:13, 30 Jan 2023
The 2023 season will pick up right from where the 2022 season left off. After hosting a Challenge event in May and the first edition of The Finals last week, Doha will welcome the first stop of the Beach Pro Tour 2023 this week, with an Elite16 tournament from February 1 through 5.
The first Beach Pro Tour champions - Norway’s Anders Mol and Christian Sorum in the men’s competition and USA’s Sara Hughes and Kelly Cheng in the women's - will stay on in the Qatari capital to compete for their first 2023 medals.
After winning their first Olympic gold in 2021, the Beachvolley Vikings are leaving behind another fantastic year, when they won their first world title and their first Beach Pro Tour Finals title in addition to three Elite16 gold medals. They topped their first Elite16 podium at one of the most unique beach volleyball venues in the world - in Ostrava - and the second one at the iconic Roland Garros stadium in Paris, two of the locations the Beach Pro Tour is set to visit again in 2023.
The Tour will also visit Australia again in November, the country where Hughes and Cheng made their first international appearance together last November and won back-to-back tournaments in Torquay, before following up with a third event in a row in Doha last week.
Among the most successful teams in 2022, Poland’s Michal Bryl and Bartosz Losiak are the other men’s team that won four gold medals during the inaugural season, before facing the Vikings in the final of the Finals, last week. They claimed a historic victory at the very first Beach Pro Tour event, the Challenge tournament in Tlaxcala, where this year’s FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships will take place. And they also triumphed at the Doha Challenge, the Espinho Challenge and the Hamburg Elite16, all held at established locations set to welcome the Tour again in 2023.
The bronze medallists of the Doha Finals, Italy’s Paolo Nicolai and Samuele Cottafava will also get a chance to return to the place where they claimed their only 2022 trophy, June’s Jurmala Elite16 in Latvia, only this time it will be a Challenge tournament.
2022 was also a great year for Eduarda Santos Lisboa (Duda) and Ana Patricia Ramos. The 2014 Youth Olympic champions reunited before the start of the season, won the world title in Rome, silver at the Finals in Doha and a couple of Elite16 trophies. They triumphed in picturesque Gstaad, one of beach volleyball’s favourite venues, and at home in Uberlandia to finish the year as the number one team in the FIVB World Ranking. The Brazilian pair will have the opportunity to defend these trophies in 2023, first in Uberlandia in late April, then in Gstaad in July.
Continuing their breakthrough from 2021, Katja Stam and Raisa Schoon of the Netherlands medalled at the first three high-level tournaments in 2022, most notably with gold at March’s inaugural Elite16 event in Rosarito. Mexico will organise an Elite16 competition again this year, but in Tepic, one of the new locations on the international beach volleyball map. Stam and Schoon’s success led them to the top of the World Ranking from April to July 2022, a place they will be striving to return to in 2023, especially after finishing the 2022 season with a gold in Paris and a bronze at the Doha Finals.
The city of Dubai welcomed back-to-back Challenge events in October 2022 and will host the world’s elite again in November 2023, this time as one of the new Elite16 destinations. Montreal is another new venue on the Elite16 programme for July 2023.
The Tour will also return to Itapema for another Challenge stop in April. The Maldives are also set to host their second Challenge tournament in October, a year after they organised the first, while new destinations for Challenge events in 2023 include La Paz in Mexico, Saquarema in Brazil, Edmonton in Canada, Hainan in China and a venue to be announced in the Philippines.
And let’s not forget the Futures tournaments. A few players who tested their luck and won Beach Pro Tour medals at that level went on to win medals at Challenge events too. Americans Taryn Kloth and Kristen Nuss are the most obvious example. They made their international debut at the inaugural Futures stop in Coolangatta in April and won gold. Less than two months later, they earned Challenge gold in Kusadasi. From that point on, they appeared at Elite16 events only, finished the year as number eight in the world and qualified for the Finals in Doha, where they finished with a fifth-place result. With its Futures events in 2023, the Beach Pro Tour will extend its reach to new territories like New Zealand, French Polynesia, Vietnam, Burundi and China.
The global beach volleyball party continues...