International beach volleyball is returning to Sofia for a fourth and final time in 2021 as the Bulgarian capital is set to host another FIVB World Tour one-star event this week from August 5-8.
The fourth and final event in Bulgaria will be played by 28 teams in each gender (16 of which play in Thursday’s qualifier) and has attracted beach volleyball players from 25 countries and four different continents.
Only two from the 12 players that won gold medals in Sofia earlier this year will be back looking for more in Italians Margherita Bianchin and Claudia Scampoli, who won the third event at the end of July, but will now compete with Chiara They and Sara Breidenbach.
The Italians are ranked third and fourth in the main draw, behind the Netherlands Antilles’ Angjeny Tolentino and Leandra Savonije and Poland’s Jagoda Gruszczynska and Kinga Legieta.
The women’s qualifying will feature a handful of young, up-and-coming players from European volleyball, most notably Germany’s Leonie Kortzinger/Lea Kunst and Svenja Muller/Sarah Schulz and Switzerland’s Mara Betschart/Annik Stahli.
On the men’s side, Italians Andrea Abbiati and Tiziano Andreatta lead the field, followed by Danish Kristoffer Abell and Jacob Brinck and Serbians Milos Milic and Lazar Kolaric, who won bronze last weekend in Ljubljana.
The event in Sofia will also mark the return of 25-year-old Russian Artem Yarzutkin to the World Tour. A 2014 Youth Olympics champion, the defender last played internationally in November 2019.
The top-seeded team in the men’s qualifier, which features Rio 2016 Olympian Alex Ranghieri of Italy and his partner Marco Viscovich, are English twins Javier and Joaquim Bello.
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour - Sofia Beach Open 4
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