Slovenian capital Ljubljana is set to host an FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour event for the fifth time in four years when the city welcomes men and women from around the world for a one-star tournament from July 29-August 1.
The 56 teams (28 men’s and 28 women’s) from 26 countries which are set to compete in Ljubljana this year will be faced with a new location for the tournament as the venue, which was typically on Congress Square, will this time be located at the picturesque Pogacar Square.
The home teams will be looking to return to the podium after not winning medals in last year’s edition of the event. Slovenian hopes rely on top-seeded Jan Pokersnik and Nejc Zemljak, who won silver in Ljubljana in 2018 and 2019.
“I expect strong competition, because there are many strong teams coming to Ljubljana and I am really happy with that,” said Pokersnik. “We will need to play at a high level and hope for the best. Every match counts, you have to give all that you can in each match, and I believe that at least one of the Slovenian teams can do well, including finishing on the podium.”
The main threats to the Slovenian hopes of medalling in the men’s tournament probably come from neighbours Italy, who will send two strong teams to the event in second-seeds Jakob Windisch and Samuele Cotafava and Rio 2016 Olympian Alex Ranghieri and his partner Marco Viscovich.
Among the women, Slovenian teams have won a single home medal in Ljubljana so far, with Jelena Pesic and Ana Skarlovnik, who took bronze in 2018. The country’s top-seeded team in this year’s event is Tjasa Kotnik and Tajda Lovsin, who will likely battle with Dutch sisters Emi and Mexime van Driel, Czechs Martina Williams and Marie-Sara Stochlova, and Italians Margherita Bianchin and Claudia Scampoli for the podium spots.
“Among the participating teams there are some one-star medallists and some good, but less experienced teams what definitely assures us an exciting tournament,” commented Nina Lovsin, who partners with Spela Morgan. “We expect to win some matches in the pool stage and to proceed to the knockout phase. We wish to deliver our best performance in each game as we are extra motivated at our home tournament.”
The event in Ljubljana starts on Thursday, with the qualification tournament, when 16 teams per gender will play for the last four main draw spots. The medal matches will take place on Sunday.
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour - Ljubljana
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