(MENAFN- The Peninsula) chinthana wasala |
Qatar's former World No.1 Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan as well as the reigning Olympic, World and 2022 Beach Pro Tour champions Anders Mol and Christian Sorum of Norway will spearhead a stellar Elite16 line-up as the 2023 Beach Volleyball Pro Tour kicks off at the Aspire Park Sports Complex in Doha, today.
The Tokyo 2020 bronze winners, Cherif and Ahmed were yesterday drawn in Group D for the opening round of the Elite16 tournament, the highest level of the Beach Pro Tour.
The duo has been struggling to keep up the pace in the recent events after being ranked a joint-seventh at last month's Beach Pro Tour Finals in Doha, following a ninth-place finish at the King Of The Court Finals and the 2018 Asian Games gold medallists Cherif and Ahmed will be looking to bounce back this season.
Joining the popular Team Qatar athletes in Group D will be Brazil's George Wanderley and Andre Loyola Stein and German pair Nils Ehlers and Clemens Wickler. Apart from them, A qualifier from the preliminary phase which kicks off today will also join the Group.
Meanwhile, Group C will see another Qatari pair - Abdallah Ibrahim Nassim and Assam Ahmed Mahmoud – in action. Their opponents in the opening stage will be Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands, Chilean brothers Marco Grimalt and Esteban Grimalt in addition to a fourth team determined from the qualifiers.
The Elite 16 Doha will be held in four pools of four teams followed by a Round of 12, quarter-finals, semi-finals and matches for gold, silver and bronze for each gender with teams competing for a total prize-bag of $300,000.
The five-day tournament will see a total of 56 teams - 28 men's and 28 women's – in action.
The level of competition will be at its highest levels, with all 20 teams - 10 men's and 10 women's - that competed at the 2022 Beach Pro Tour Finals will take part in the event, where they will be joined by several other heavyweights of international beach volleyball.
The Doha event will also kick off the race for Paris 2024 Olympics.
Although the qualification period officially started on January 1, the Doha Elite16 event is the first at which teams from around the world will be able to add points to their Olympic rankings.
At the end of the qualification period which ends on June 9, 2024, the 17 best-ranked men's and women's teams in the Olympic rankings will qualify for the Games. Joining them at the Paris Games will be a duo from the host country, the winners of the 2023 Beach Volleyball World Championships, and five teams from the five Continental Olympic tournaments.