Beach Pro Tour - News


Czechia’s Ondrej Perusic in action at Ostrava centre court

The 2023 Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour is about to resume with the season’s fourth Elite16 event. Wednesday’s qualifiers will mark the start of Ostrava’s fifth world-level tournament that will climax with the semifinals and the medal matches on Sunday.

· Watch all matches at the Beach Pro Tour Ostrava Elite16 event live on VBTV.

The unique venue in Czechia’s third largest city will host its second Elite16 event on the Beach Pro Tour after also welcoming 4-star competitions in 2018, 2019 and 2021, and turning into an iconic stop on the former FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. The world’s top players have been delighted not only by the impressive ironwork surroundings at the Lower Vitkovice industrial heritage site, but also by the fantastic Ostrava spectators who fill up the centre court stands, creating an amazing ambience for top-calibre beach volleyball action.


It was that home crowd that cheered Czech heroines Barbora Hermannova & Marketa Slukova on as they celebrated on top of the 2018 podium. Brazil’s Agatha Bednarczuk & Eduarda (Duda) Santos Lisboa and USA’s Kelly Claes (now Cheng) & Sarah Sponcil won the 2019 and 2021 women’s tournaments, respectively. Last year, as Ostrava played host to the second Elite16 event in history, Germany’s Cinja Tillmann & Svenja Muller claimed their first and only world-level gold so far.

“Ostrava is a very special place for me. I was born here, I'm always at home here, and I have my whole family on the stands, which will not happen to me at another Elite16 tournament. We want to use that special Ostrava energy to aim for a good result. In any case, the spectators can look forward to some great beach volleyball as the participation will be truly world-class.” Barbora Hermannova, Czechia

The inspiring atmosphere at Lower Vitkovice must have had something to do with the successful campaigns of Czechia’s top pair Ondrej Perusic & David Schweiner. They reached the semifinals in 2018, finishing fourth, and then took the silver medals at each of the next three men’s tournaments in Ostrava, losing the finals to Norwegian standouts Anders Mol & Christian Sorum in 2019 and 2022, and to mighty Dutchmen Alexander Brouwer & Robert Meeuwsen in 2021.

“We take the fact that we were among the top four in all four seasons as a sign that we do well in Ostrava. It would be great to extend that series and play our fifth semifinal in a row, but we realize that the competition is really huge and this forces us to be humble.” Ondrej Perusic, Czechia

All of these players will be back in action, some in different configurations, as the fifth tournament in Ostrava unfolds this week, even Agatha, who will make her Beach Pro Tour debut after an 18-month maternity break. The level, however, is so high that some of them will have to go through Wednesday’s qualifier grind, if they want to be successful again in the Czech sand.


Barbora Hermannova in Ostrava

Marketa Slukova, for example, now teamed up with Czechia’s indoor star Helena Havelkova, will rely on some extra help from the stands to overcome their first qualifier opponents, Esmee Bobner & Zoe Verge-Depre of Switzerland. Sarah Sponcil and her current partner Terese Cannon will start their Ostrava campaign with a first qualification round encounter with China’s Wang Xinxin and Zhu Lingdi. Even Brazil’s Barbara Seixas & Carol Solberg, who took 2021 bronze in Ostrava and progressed to their current number three position in the FIVB World Ranking, did not make the direct cut into this year’s main draw and will have to be in the sand on Wednesday, ready to take on Norway’s Sunniva Helland-Hansen & Emilie Olimstad in one of the eight fixtures of the first qualification round.

“I'm looking forward to this tournament, because the atmosphere is always great. We just have to qualify with Helena, which is new for me in Ostrava, but I believe that the audience will drive us even in the qualification matches, where top opponents are awaiting.” Marketa Slukova, Czechia

The men’s qualifier line-up is just as star-studded. The World Ranking’s number four Andre Stein & George Wanderley of Brazil will provide the first challenge for the host country pairing of Jakub Sepka & Tomas Semerad. Number five Paolo Nicolai & Samuele Cottafava of Italy will launch their qualification campaign against Austria’s Alexander Horst & Julian Horl, while the first qualification round will also feature an all-American clash between Chaim Schalk & Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb & Theodore Brunner.

Wednesday’s action is set to begin with the first whistle at 08:30 local time (06:30 UTC).

A total of 56 teams from 21 different countries are set to battle it out for their share of the USD 300,000 prize purse and for valuable Olympic qualification points. In each gender, 16 pairs will engage in knockout qualifications to determine the four that will complete the 16-duo main draw line-up. The main draw teams are split into four round-robin pools, with the pool winners and pool runners-up advancing to the quarterfinals en route to Sunday’s medal matches.