Dubai, UAE - 1st - challenge - Beach Pro Tour 2022 - News

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Maldives Challenge bronze medallist Sara Sinisalo to reunite with her sister Ida for the Dubai events

Over the next nine days, Dubai will take over as beach volleyball capital of the world. The UAE city will host two consecutive Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Challenge events with the first one beginning on Saturday with the qualifiers.

· Watch all matches at the Beach Pro Tour Challenge events in Dubai live on Volleyball TV.

A total of 32 men’s and 25 women’s teams from 27 different countries on all continents are set to hit the sand in Dubai competing for eight remaining main draw vacancies per gender in two qualification rounds to be played on Saturday at Kite Beach on the Persian Gulf coast.

Italy’s Jakob Windisch and Gianluca Dal Corso are the leading pair on entry points in the men’s qualifier bracket. The young Italians have already won a couple of medals at the Futures level on the Beach Pro Tour. It will be their fourth attempt to make it to a Challenge level main draw. Out of the previous three, the most recent one in Agadir proved successful. Windisch and Dal Corso also took part in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship at home, in Rome, earlier this year and impressed with a straight-set win over prominent Chileans Marco Grimalt and Esteban Grimalt in pool play.

The names of several Tokyo 2020 Olympians appear further down the men’s qualification line-up. Switzerland’s Adrian Heidrich and his current partner Leo Dillier are the second-ranked team on the list. They participated in all seven of the previous Challenge qualifiers and made it to the main draw three times, in Kusadasi, Agadir and the Maldives. The ninth place at Sun Island last week was the Swiss pair’s best result so far.

Latvia’s Edgars Tocs, who made it to the Tokyo 2020 semifinals last year alongside Martins Plavins, and his current teammate Kristians Fokerots will try to qualify for a Challenge main draw for the second time after doing so back in May, also on the Gulf Coast, in Doha.

Two-time Olympian and former world champion Evandro Oliveira will play in his second Beach Pro Tour event with his new partner Vinicius Freitas after a successful debut last week in the Maldives, where the Brazilian duo started from the qualifications and made it all the way to the quarterfinals.

Evandro in action at the Maldives Challenge

Evandro in action at the Maldives Challenge last week

Taylor Crabb, who also qualified for last year’s Olympics, but had to give up his spot in Tokyo due to a positive coronavirus test, will also compete in the Dubai qualifiers, however, not with his regular partner Taylor Sander, but alongside 36-year-old Beach Pro Tour rookie Paul Lotman.

Crabb and Lotman will be one of three American pairs in the men’s qualifications. Australia and Germany will also be represented by three teams each.

At the same time, Japan will have as many as seven duos playing in the women’s bracket on Saturday, followed by the United States with five.

An American team, Molly Turner and Madelyne Anderson lead the line-up on entry points. It will be the pair’s second Beach Pro Tour appearance, after winning Ciro Marina Futures gold at their debut in July.

Suzuka Hashimoto and Reika Murakami, in number three, are the highest seeded Japanese duo. They are aiming at their second Challenge-level main draw participation, after their success in the Espinho qualifiers some three months ago. 37-year-old Tokyo Olympian Megumi Murakami will also compete in Saturday’s qualifiers targeting the first Challenge main draw for her current partnership with Sakurako Fujii.

After winning Maldives Challenge bronze with Anniina Parkkinen last week, 18-year-old Finn Sara Sinisalo will reunite with her older sister Ida for the Dubai events. As they attempt to make it to their first main draw at the Challenge level as a pair, the Sinisalo sisters will be another team to look out for on Saturday.