Doha 4-star kicked off to gather the beach volleyball world elite
After a one-year break, it is the return of the international beach volleyball elite at Doha in Qatar. Last year’s Katara Beach Volleyball Cup was the last big event. Then Covid came. Then a long break. But now the action and the excitement is back. And after all, 2021 will be an Olympic year…
Having hosted eight men-only FIVB World Tour events, now Doha hosts a double-gender tournament. And the entire world elite is there. Eight of both the top 10 women’s and men’s teams. Except for Norway’s Anders Mol, presumably the world’s best beach volleyball player in the last two years. He is recovering from some hip issues. But he and his partner Christian Sorum are on the safe side. They will nevertheless qualify for the Toyko Olympics starting end of July.
The 4-star was kicked off today with the qualifiers. And tomorrow’s main draw starts with pool play featuring some face-offs that could easily go for quarterfinals at the Olympics or World Championships. In the men’s competition, Pool A features reigning FIVB world champions Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Oleg Stoyanovskiy of Russia, Polish top team Kantor/Losiak and Brazil’s Evandro/Guto. In Pool G, Olympic silver medalists Lupo/ Nicolai of Italy will face US legends Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena. The two US teams in the qualification round didn’t make it to the main draw. Both Budinger/ Patterson and Schalk/Brunner lost their matches to Dutch and Spanish teams. Last year’s Kings of the Court Marco Krattiger and Florian Breer of Switzerland were removed from the tournament due to a positive Covid-19 test.
On the women’s side, Canadian world champions Melissa Humana-Paredes/Sarah Pavan are in Pool A together with US team Claes/Sponcil. Pool B will see the two American top teams battling each other – “A-Team” Alix Klineman/April Ross and three-time Olympic champion Kerri Walsh with her partner Brooke Sweat. The fourth US women’s team in the main draw Kolinske/Stockman will face Italians Menegatti/ Orsi Toth in Pool C. In Pool G, reigning Olympic champion Laura Ludwig and her partner Maggie Kozuch will go up against Czech team Barbora Hermannova/ Marketa Slukova.
You can follow the Doha action live on the Beach Volleyball World Youtube channel.