Doha braces itself for the last and most prestigious event of the 2023 Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour season. 10 men’s and 10 women’s teams are set to compete for champions-of-the-champions honours at The Finals in the Qatari capital from Wednesday, December 6, through Saturday, December 9.
Time for Beach Pro Tour season’s last and most important event
The Doha Finals serve off on Wednesday
Published 02:41, 05 Dec 2023
This is the second edition of The Finals. The inaugural 2022 event was also held in Doha in late January of this year. Tokyo 2020 Olympic champions Anders Mol & Christian Sorum of Norway and United States’ Sara Hughes & Kelly Cheng, who later on triumphed as the 2023 world champions, claimed the honours of the first-ever Beach Pro Tour Finals winners in history. The men’s podium was completed by Poland’s Michal Bryl & Bartosz Losiak and Italy’s Paolo Nicolai & Samuele Cottafava, while the ladies’ silver and bronze went to Brazil’s Eduarda Santos Lisboa (Duda) & Ana Patricia Ramos and the Netherlands’ Katja Stam & Raisa Schoon, respectively. All of these teams are returning to Doha to play at The Finals 2023 again.
It will be the 13th time Doha is hosting a world-level beach volleyball event. The first nine were stops on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, starting with the men-only Doha Open in 2014 and ending with the double-gender Doha 4-star in 2021. The next three were Beach Pro Tour events: the Doha Challenge in May 2022, the Doha Finals in January 2023 and the Doha Elite16 in February 2023.
That last tournament some 10 months ago was also won by Mol & Sorum in the men’s competition, with Sweden’s David Ahman & Jonatan Hellvig collecting the silver and Italy’s Adrian Carambula & Alex Ranghieri picking up the bronze. On the women’s side, Stam & Schoon triumphed as winners, while Switzerland’s Nina Brunner & Tanja Huberli and Australia’s Taliqua Clancy & Mariafe Artacho Del Solar kept them company on the podium. All of these pairs will also hit the sand courts in Doha again this week.
The 10 teams per gender will be split into two round-robin pools of five, with the pool winners advancing directly to the semifinals, while the pool runners-up and the third-placed teams move on to the quarterfinals in the six-team single-elimination playoff brackets. A total prize purse of US$ 800,000 (US$ 400,000 per gender) will be at stake as the battles at Aspire Park unfold on two courts over the four competition days, climaxing with the semifinals and the medal matches on Saturday.
The first whistle will blow at 13:00 local time (10:00 UTC) on Wednesday, when Germany’s Cinja Tillmann & Svenja Muller take on defending Finals champions and reigning world champions Hughes & Cheng on one of the courts, and last week’s Nuvali Challenge winners Anastasija Samoilova & Tina Graudina of Latvia challenge the world’s number one team Ana Patricia & Duda on the other. These will be the first games in the women’s Pool A, which also features Canada’s Melissa Humana-Paredes & Brandie Wilkerson.
An hour later, Tokyo 2020 Olympic silver medallists Mariafe & Clancy will take to the court for their match against European champions Huberli & Brunner, while USA’s Taryn Kloth & Kristen Nuss face Brazil’s Taina Bigi & Victoria Lopes in the other women’s Pool B opening game. Stam & Schoon are the fifth team in that pool.
The guys will get into action at 15:00 (12:00) with the Pool A fixtures between reigning world champions Ondrej Perusic & David Schweiner of Czechia and Cottafava & Nicolai, and between the Qatari pairing of Tokyo 2020 Olympic bronze medallists Cherif Younousse & Ahmed Tijan and Losiak & Bryl. USA’s Miles Partain & Andrew Benesh will join in as of the second leg later on Wednesday.
The men’s Pool B will serve off at 16:00 (13:00) with a super clash between Mol & Sorum and Brazil’s Andre Stein & George Wanderley on centre court, while Germany’s Clemens Wickler & Nils Ehlers take on European champions Ahman & Hellvig. Carambula & Ranghieri will be the last team to join the action as they open their campaign in the last centre court match of the first competition day, against the Swedes, starting at 21:00 (18:00).
Pool play will be completed on Friday. That same evening the quarterfinals will be played to set the line-up for Saturday’s final four action.