The ninth and the last Elite16 event on the 2023 Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour will take place in Joao Pessoa next week, from November 22 through 26, offering the world’s best teams another chance to shine at the highest level ahead of next month’s Beach Pro Tour Finals in Doha. It will be the fifth time the Beach Pro Tour visits Brazil this year, after the South American country also hosted the Uberlandia Elite16, the Itapema Challenge, the Saquarema Challenge and the Miguel Pereira Futures.
Joao Pessoa to welcome season’s last Elite16
The tops stars of beach volleyball will compete in Brazil next week
Gepubliceerd 07:34, 16 Nov 2023
As usual, there will be plenty of stardust flying above the Elite16 sand, with new world champions Ondrej Perusic & David Schweiner of Czechia and FIVB Beach Volleyball World Ranking leaders Eduarda Santos Lisboa (Duda) & Ana Patricia Ramos of Brazil headlining the men’s and the women’s line-ups, respectively.
2022 world champs Duda & Ana Patricia, who have already won four Elite16 golds this year, as well as the Pan American Games last month, suffered a “small” setback in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship final in Tlaxcala, settling for silver this time, but will aim to capitalize on the home court advantage to bounce back with a Joao Pessoa gold. They will start their campaign in Pool A along with the two teams that met in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic bronze medal match, Joana Mader & Anouk Verge-Depre of Switzerland and Anastasija Samoilova & Tina Graudina of Latvia.
World Championship bronze medallists Taryn Kloth & Kristen Nuss of the United States will try to make it to their seventh world-level podium this year as they lead Pool B as the second-seeded team in the women’s main draw. Former Olympic and world champion Laura Ludwig and her current partner Louisa Lippmann of Germany will also compete in this pool. So will Brazil’s Taina Bigi & Victoria Lopes.
Third-seeded Katja Stam & Raisa Schoon of the Netherlands, who started the Elite16 season with the trophy in Doha, will try to finish it with a trophy in Joao Pessoa. Their known opponents in Pool C are Germany’s Cinja Tillmann & Svenja Muller, as well as former world champion and Olympic silver medallist Agatha Bednarczuk of Brazil with her teammate Rebecca Cavalcanti.
Finally, the women’s Pool D action will feature a big clash between the current teams of two former world champions and Olympic medallists. China’s Xue Chen, a Beijing 2008 bronze medallist and a 2013 world champ, and Xia Xinyi, seeded fourth in the main draw bracket, will go head to head against Brazil’s Barbara Seixas, a Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist and a 2015 world champ, and Carol Solberg, seeded fifth. Poland’s Jagoda Gruszczynska & Aleksandra Wachowicz will also join the race in Pool D.
The Joao Pessoa Elite16 will be the first tournament for Perusic & Schweiner after their triumph at the World Championship. The Czechs earned their first Beach Pro Tour gold earlier this year, topping the Uberlandia Elite16 podium in April, and added the second at the Paris Elite16 just before flying to Tlaxcala. To some extent, whether they add yet another gold to their collection in Joao Pessoa first depends on how they cope with the competition in Pool A, which includes former world’s number one team Stefan Boermans & Yorick de Groot of the Netherlands and Brazil’s Pedro Solberg & Gustavo Carvalhaes (Guto).
The world’s current number two team, reigning European champions David Ahman & Jonatan Hellvig of Sweden, who won the World Championship silver and Elite16 gold medals in Tepic and Hamburg earlier this year, will headline Pool B, where they will face some solid opposition from 2013 world champions and Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallists Alexander Brouwer & Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands and Austria’s Julian Horl & Alexander Horst.
With members like third-seeded Poles Michal Bryl & Bartosz Losiak, who claimed last month’s bronze in Tlaxcala, German standouts Clemens Wickler & Nils Ehlers, and the former world’s number one pairing of 2017 world champion Andre Stein with George Wanderley of Brazil, Pool C will be a really tough call.
The other world champion in 2017, Evandro Oliveira, and his current partner Arthur Mariano of Brazil are seeded fourth and will compete in Pool D in the tough company of Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist Paolo Nicolai and his current teammate Samuele Cottafava of Italy, and USA’s Trevor Crabb & Theodore Brunner, who backed up their fourth place at the World Championship last month with a Haikou Challenge silver this month ahead of heading to Joao Pessoa.
The remaining one vacancy per pool will be at stake in Wednesday’s qualifiers, when 16 teams per gender, with plenty of stellar presence as well, including the likes of Tokyo 2020 bronze medallists and former world’s number one Cherif Younousse & Ahmed Tijan of Qatar or Spanish evergreens Liliana Fernаndez and Pablo Herrera & Adrian Gavira, will battle to make the Joao Pessoa main draw.