The best of the best in the world of beach volleyball will get together in Doha to battle it out at the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Finals next week, from December 6 through 9. The Qatari capital will welcome the prestigious event for the second time in a row, after holding the inaugural 2022 Finals in January this year, with Norway’s Anders Mol & Christian Sorum and USA’s Sara Hughes & Kelly Cheng triumphant in the men’s and the women’s competition, respectively. Both teams are now set to return to Doha to defend their titles, as the list of qualified participants was released on Tuesday.
Cream of the beach to battle for Beach Pro Tour Finals honours
Mol & Sorum and Duda & Ana Patricia lead the stellar line-ups in Doha
Published 11:00, 29 Nov 2023
Mol & Sorum are clearly the team to beat at the Finals again this year. In addition to being the defending Beach Pro Tour Finals champions, they are also the reigning Olympic champions from Tokyo 2020 and the number one team in the men’s FIVB World Ranking. This year the Norwegians fell short of defending their FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship title from 2022, but the new world champions, Czechia’s Ondrej Perusic & David Schweiner, currently number three in the World Ranking, will also return to Doha for next week’s event.
Reigning two-time European champions and 2023 World Championship silver medallists David Ahman & Jonatan Hellvig of Sweden, who won the last Elite16 event of the season in Joao Pessoa last week and are ranked number two in the world, will make their Finals debut in Doha.
The rest of the teams in the top eight of the World Ranking – USA’s Miles Partain & Andrew Benesh, Italy’s Adrian Carambula & Alex Ranghieri, Germany’s Clemens Wickler & Nils Ehlers, Italy’s Paolo Nicolai & Samuele Cottafava and Brazil’s Andre Stein & George Wanderley – are all qualified to compete in Doha as well.
The world’s number nine, Poland’s Michal Bryl & Bartosz Losiak, who reached the final of the Finals in January to finish runners-up to Mol & Sorum and claim the inaugural silver, will also be back to the Qatari capital, but with a wild card. So will 11th-ranked Tokyo 2020 bronze medallists Cherif Younousse & Ahmed Tijan of Qatar, who are sure to spark excitement among the home crowd in Doha.
The first-ever Beach Pro Tour Finals champions in the women’s category Hughes & Cheng added the 2023 World Championship title to their impressive list of accolades and climbed to the number two spot in the FIVB World Ranking, which they are currently sharing with compatriots Taryn Kloth & Kristen Nuss. Both teams will be representing the United States at the Finals again next week.
Brazil will also be represented by two pairs in the women’s tournament. The world’s number one team Eduarda Santos Lisboa (Duda) & Ana Patricia Ramos, the 2022 world champions, who finished runners-up at both the 2022 Beach Pro Tour Finals and the 2023 World Championship, and piled up as many as five gold medals at the Elite16 level this year, including the last one in Joao Pessoa last week, are of course one of them. The other is the pairing of Taina Bigi & Victoria Lopes, who received one of the wild cards.
The women’s list of participants continues with Tokyo 2020 Olympic silver medallists Taliqua Clancy & Mariafe Artacho Del Solar of Australia, Canada’s Melissa Humana-Paredes & Brandie Wilkerson, Netherlands’ Katja Stam & Raisa Schoon, Switzerland’s Nina Brunner & Tanja Huberli, Germany’s Cinja Tillmann & Svenja Muller and Latvia’s Anastasija Samoilova & Tina Graudina, who also received a wild card for the Finals.
The 10 teams per gender will be split into two round-robin pools of five, with the pool winners advancing directly to the semifinals and the pool runners-up and third-placed teams moving on to the quarterfinals in the six-team single-elimination playoff bracket.