The FIVB 4-star in Sochi (Russia) gathers the entire beach volleyball world elite on their way to the Tokyo Olympic Games in July. It is for the first time after more than five years that the World Tour returns to Sochi. The US$ 300,000 prize money event is the penultimate top tournament before the Olympic qualification cut-off date in June.
The event played in a modified pool play system starts with country-quota matches for the US and Germany on Tuesday before the qualifiers take place on Wednesday. Main draw will be played from May 27. For the women, quartefinals are scheduled for May 28 and the tournament will finish with the medal matches on May 29. On the men’s side there is a one day delay with semifinals and medal matches taking place on May 30.
Top favorites and FIVB World Ranking leaders are again Norwegian Vikings Anders Mol and Christian Sorum who won the two recent Cancun events they participated in. The are followed by Germany’s Thole/ Wickler and Qataris Cherif/ Ahmed who won the third Cancun event end of April.
On the women’s side, Canadian world champions Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes are challenged by strong Brazilian teams Agatha/ Duda and Taiana Lima/ Talita as well as Amercian top team Alix Klineman and April Ross. Three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings and her partner Brooke Sweat need to go through the country-quota and qualifiers.
You can check out the entire entry list on the official FIVB event page.
After 2018 and 2019, the Ostrava Beach Open take place for the third time. The US$ 300,000 prize money event’s main draw starts on Thursday, the quarterfinals will be played on June 5. Semifinals and medal matches are scheduled for June 6. The Ostrava event will bring a final decision regarding the remaining open spots for the Tokyo Olympics in July.
On the women’s side, things are pretty much clear after three-time Olympic champion Kerri Walsh Jennings and her partner Brooke Sweat were eliminated in Wednesday’s qualifiers by Raisa Schoon and Katja Stam from the Netherlands. For the US, it will now be A-Team Alix Klineman and April Ross as well as Sochi winners Sarah Sponcil and Kelly Claes who will be representing their country in Tokyo.
On the men’s side, it is Latvia’s Aleksandrs Samoilovs/ Janis Smedins, Switzerland’s Adrian Heidrich/ Mirco Gerson, Dutchmen Christiaan Varenhorst/ Steven van de Velde and Germany’s Nils Ehlers/ Lars Fluggen who need to gain further points to claim a spot for Tokyo. Last week’s Sochi champions Kantor/ Losiak are in a rather comfortable position in the race to Tokyo.
In a sort of “extra-competition”, Americans Tri Bourne/ Trevor Crabb will need to show a strong performance to catch up with compatriots Jake Gibb/ Taylor Crabb and veterans Nick Lucena/ Phil Dalhausser who are currently holding the Olympic spots.