Beach Pro Tour - News

Diaz/Alayo (CUB) vs. George/Andre (BRA) - Semifinals #14310363

Cuba’s Diaz & Alayo will lead the men’s main draw in Xiamen

There are three more Elite16 and two more Challenge tournaments to go on the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour before the provisional Olympic rankings become final and 17 tickets to Paris 2024 per gender are handed out to those who earned them through these rankings. That means there is plenty of time and opportunities for changes that can affect those lists, especially in the large “gray area” between those, who are relatively safe for their qualification for Paris, and those, whose chances can be classified as slim to none. The process continues at this week’s Xiamen Challenge in China, running from April 25 to 28.

· Watch the Xiamen Challenge qualifications live on the Beach Volleyball World channel.
· Watch the Xiamen Challenge main draw with your FREE 7-day access to VBTV.

Women’s main draw to turn into a real battlefield

The women’s tournament in Xiamen will be a real scuffle for ranking points. With the exception of some teams from the United States or Brazil, who no longer compete together or have realistic shots at the Olympics because of the country quota, everybody from the “gray area” of the women’s provisional Olympic ranking, with totals between 5,000 and 7,360 points, will join the sand battles in China.

Of these teams, only Poland’s Jagoda Gruszczynska & Aleksandra Wachowicz (Ola) will start the tournament from Thursday’s qualifiers. All of the remaining such pairs are already in the main draw, coincidentally pre-seeded from number one to number 14.

Ittlinger/Borger (GER) vs. Ludwig/Lippmann (GER) - Round of 12 #14269823

Borger & Ittlinger and Lippmann & Ludwig against each other last week in Tepic

Germany’s Louisa Lippmann & Laura Ludwig lead the list on entry points. In addition to aiming to stay above the general cut-off line for Paris, the stellar pair has to cope with the internal competition of another two German pairs for the maximum of two Olympic berths per gender available to a single country. While the highest-ranked German team, Cinja Tillmann & Svenja Muller, will skip Xiamen, the lowest-ranked of the three and a major threat to Lippmann & Ludwig’s spot, Karla Borger & Sandra Ittlinger, will be right there, currently pre-seeded third on entry points.

In between, second on the list, are Canada’s Sarah Pavan & Molly McBain, who are currently the highest ranked team below the red line in the Olympic Ranking. They will lead a pack of several other duos behind them in the chart, aspiring to climb up towards the coveted visas for Paris: Spain’s Liliana Fernаndez & Paula Soria, Thailand’s Worapeerachayakorn Kongphopsarutawadee & Taravadee Naraphornrapat, Austria’s Dorina Klinger & Ronja Klinger, Czechia’s Barbora Hermannova & Marie-Sara Stochlova and Canada’s Heather Bansley & Sophie Bukovec.

Pavan/McBain vs. Klinger D./Klinger R. - Qualification Highlights Tepic 2024 #BeachProTour

Another bunch of teams, currently holding qualifying spots in the Olympic Ranking, will give their best in Xiamen to stay above the cut-off: Spain’s Daniela Alvarez & Tania Moreno, France’s Lezana Placette & Alexia Richard, Lithuania’s Monika Paulikiene & Aine Raupelyte and Finland’s Taru Lahti-Liukkonen & Niina Ahtiainen. The latter are currently the last team above the red line.

Switzerland’s Esmee Bobner & Zoe Verge-Depre and Joana Mader & Anouk Verge-Depre belong in that set too, but they are also in a tight domestic race with each other (and with highest-ranked Swiss pair Nina Brunner & Tanja Huberli) for their country’s Olympic quota.

The women’s main draw pre-seeds are completed by France’s Aline Chamereau & Clemence Vieira, who are hoping to take the host nation spot in Paris, if their compatriots Placette & Richard qualify through the ranking, and China’s representatives Dong Jie & Wang Fan.

Trending Cubans to highlight men’s main draw in Xiamen

The men’s main draw line-up is headlined by this season’s hottest item, Cuba’s Noslen Diaz & Jorge Alayo. After their first-ever Elite16 main draw appearance at last week’s event in Tepic, where they took bronze, they got to within just 100 points from the cut-off line in the men’s provisional Olympic ranking. If the Cubans extend the fantastic season they are having into Xiamen, they will likely hold a qualifying spot as soon as next week.

Another two teams to watch in the men’s main draw in China are Trevor Crabb & Theodore Brunner and Chase Budinger & Miles Evans, who are in the centre of a four-way American race for two Olympic tickets.

Diaz/Alayo vs. Crabb Tr./Brunner - Semi Final Highlights Guadalajara 2024 #BeachProTour

The main draw will feature a number of other “gray area” teams like Australia’s Thomas Hodges & Zachery Schubert and Austria’s Julian Horl & Alexander Horst, who are currently within the qualifying range of the ranking, or like Austria’s Robin Seidl & Moritz Pristauz, Norway’s Mathias Berntsen & Hendrik Mol, Canada’s Daniel Dearing & Samuel Schachter, Lithuania’s Patrikas Stankevicius & Audrius Knasas, England’s Joaquin Bello & Javier Bello and Australia’s Izac Carracher & Mark Nicolaidis, who are below the cut-off, but close enough to continue chasing their Olympic dreams.

Meanwhile, the duo right on the edge, holding the last qualifying spot in the Olympic Ranking, Chile’s Marco Grimalt & Esteban Grimalt, are pre-seeded on top of the men’s qualification list for Thursday’s grind.

The qualifiers will serve off on Thursday at 08:30 local time (00:30 UTC).