Former world’s number one Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan, currently eighth in the world ranking, will be the top-seeded team in the men’s main draw.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
Italy’s Marta Menegatti and Valentina Gottardi and Qatar’s Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan lead the women’s and the men’s entry lists for the first of two Dubai Challenge events on the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour.
The eighth challenge tournament of the inaugural Beach Pro Tour season will take place from October 22 to October 25 at the Kite Beach in Dubai.
The International Volleyball Federation will organize the tournament with the support of Dubai Sports Council and in collaboration with the Emirates Volleyball Association.
A total of 96 pairs will compete for their share of the $150,000 prize purse. In each gender, 16 teams were seeded directly into the 24-team main draw line-up.
The remaining eight vacancies will be contested in a 32-team qualification bracket.
A second tournament of the same category will be held in Dubai from October 27 to October 30. The UAE have not hosted an event of such a high calibre since 2008 when the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour visited the Asian country for the first time with a two-gender Dubai Open tournament.
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The 48 women’s duos to take to the sand courts of Dubai come from 21 different countries on four continents.
The Italian pair consisting of 32-year-old three-time Olympian Menegatti and 19-year-old blocker Gottardi lead the way on entry points. They finished fifth at this year’s Beach Volleyball World Championship in Rome and have collected three Beach Pro Tour medals, an Agadir Challenge bronze and silvers at the Madrid and the Lecce Futures events.
Next down the entry list are the new pairing of Isabel Schneider and two-time Olympian Julia Sude. The two experienced German athletes will make their international debut as a team in Dubai. Another newly formed tandem, that of Sarah Schulz, who won Doha Challenge silver in May, and 20-year-old Anna-Lena Grune, will also represent Germany in the main draw in the Emirates.
Elize Maia and Thamela Coradello, seeded third, will vie for their second Beach Pro Tour medal, after their bronze at the inaugural Challenge tournament in Tlaxcala back in March. They are one of two Brazilian duos in the Dubai main draw. The other features Taina Bigi and Victoria Lopes.
Spain’s Belen Carro and Angela Lobato, Czechia’s Barbora Hermannova and Marie-Sara Stochlova, Canada’s Megan McNamara and Nicole McNamara, USA’s Corinne Quiggle and Sarah Schermerhorn and Japan’s Miki Ishii and Sayaka Mizoe are the other women’s teams, currently in the top 25 of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Ranking, set to com
Teams from 25 countries and all five continental confederations are among the 48 that appear on the men’s main draw and qualifier lists.
Former world’s number one Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan, currently eighth in the World Ranking, will be the top-seeded team in the men’s main draw. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic bronze medallists have already collected a gold and a silver at the highest Elite16 level, but will be chasing their first podium at the Challenge level.
Second in the entry list are Norway’s Mathias Berntsen and Hendrik Mol. After finishing Agadir Challenge runners-up in July, they will be aiming at their second Beach Pro Tour podium.
The United States’ Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb, seeded third, who have had an excellent season on the AVP Tour, are still in search of their first Beach Pro Tour medal, however. So are their compatriots Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb, who are also seeded directly into the Dubai main draw.
Among the world’s highest ranked teams to take to the main draw courts in Dubai are also Italy’s Adrian Carambula and Enrico Rossi, Argentina’s Nicolas Capogrosso and Tomas Capogrosso, Switzerland’s Quentin Metral and Yves Haussener and Mexico’s Miguel Sarabia and Juan Virgen, all in the top 40 of the current World Ranking chart.
The Dubai Challenge will also mark the return of Latvia’s three-time Olympian and London 2012 bronze medallist Martins Plavins after a year-long absence from international competition due to a knee surgery. 37-year-old Plavins has teamed up with 24-year-old Mihails Samoilovs and the new pair will make their Beach Pro Tour debut in the Dubai main draw.