11/01/2018 09:15
It’s January! Time to play some top-notch Beach Volleyball in Pelhrimov...
2018 CEV Beach Volleyball European Masters Pelhrimov

Pelhrimov, Czech Republic, January 11, 2018.  The outside temperatures may be close to freezing, but Europe’s Beach Volleyball season is just about to get started. Within the cosy comfort of the Beachwell in Pelhrimov, the first ever indoor CEV Beach Volleyball European Masters is getting underway with Thursday’s qualifications.

How well anticipated it was for such a high-level European Beach Volleyball competition to take place during the continent’s winter time becomes evident with the impressive line-up of men’s and women’s pairs registered to take part in this historic event. Just a week after the indoor Dela Beach Open 4-Star stop on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour took place in the Netherlands, Europe’s elite is gathering again to test their skills on January sand.

As many as 58 men’s and 52 women’s teams from 28 different countries signed up to play at the Pelhrimov Masters. In each gender, 12 duos will start their campaigns directly from Friday’s main draw, while another 16 will get a chance of joining them by playing in Thursday’s qualifications, which will leave four pairs in further contention.

In fact 18 of the 22 European pairs who took part in the men’s main draw in The Hague, including all medallists, lined up to participate on the Czech sand, but some could not make it beyond the reserve list, and others, such as Dela Beach Open champions Martins Plavins and Edgars Tocs from Latvia, though as the top-seeded team, will have to go through qualifications in Pelhrimov.

Czech wildcards Jindrich Weiss and Martin Tichy are the “lucky” guys who will have to face the Latvians in the first qualification round on Thursday morning. “We cannot compete against a more difficult opponent. They are in top form,” Weiss said. “But we want to use the home-court advantage we have in Pelhrimov,” Tichy added.

Poland’s Mariusz Prudel and Jakub Szalankiewicz, who finished fifth in The Hague, will be seeded second in the men’s qualification tournament. “Although we played an indoor FIVB tournament last week, playing an indoor CEV Masters will be something new,” said Prudel. “In The Hague it was very special and nice and I hope in Pelhrimov it will be at least the same.”

The impressive list of qualification participants continues on and on. Naturally, even more impressive is the list of the 12 teams already in the main draw. 2016 Olympians, three-time under-age world champions and multiple World Tour medallists Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak from Poland will lead the seeding, hoping for their first ever European Masters medal. Three-time Olympians and silver medal winners from the 2017 World Championship, Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst from Austria and 2013 world champions Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen from the Netherlands complete the top three seeds.

On the women’s side, the situation is not much different. All but one of the 38 European players, who took part in The Hague’s main draw last week have put their names down for Pelhrimov as well, but some did not even make the qualification cut.

2011 CEV U20 European champions Katharina Schützenhöfer and Lena Plesiutschnig from Austria will lead the way as the top-seeded team in Thursday’s qualifications, followed by two-time Olympian and two-time European champion Marleen Ramond-van Iersel and 20-year-old hopeful Joy Stubbe from the Netherlands in the second seed, and Latvia’s rising stars, 2016 U22 European champs Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka in the third.

Two Czech duos are leading the main draw line-up on technical points. Two-time Olympian Marketa Slukova, together with her Rio 2016 partner Barbora Hermannová, who finished fourth in The Hague last week, are on top of the list, followed by Slukova’s London 2012 partner Kristyna Kolocova and her current teammate Michala Kvapilová, the silver medal winners from the 2017 #EuroBeachVolley in Jurmala. The top three is completed by the bronze medallists from the Dela Beach Open Nina Betschart and Tanja Hüberli from Switzerland. Betschart is a four-time under-age European champion and two-time under-age world champion.

Host country Czech Republic will have one more team in the main draw and one in the qualification tournament, but they are not the only ones, who will feel at home in Pelhrimov. “It is always easier to play a tournament near home,” said Natalia Dubovcova representing neighbouring Slovakia. “Andrea Strbova and I are both Slovakian, but we live here, in the Czech Republic, we have a lot of friends here and we feel at home. We are really happy to get to play in the qualifications here, because for a long time we were on the reserve list.”

Dubovcova’s partner Andrea Strbova added, “In Pelhrimov, people can see the best Beach Volleyball in Europe! I hope as many people as possible will come to watch the games at the Beachwell.”

Engage with the 2018 CEV Beach Volleyball European Masters Pelhrimov on social media by using the competition’s official hashtag #EuroBeachVolley.

Click here for more information on the Pelhrimov Masters.

News nr. 6 of 7
11/01/2018 21:47:00
Austrians triumphant in tough men’s qualifications in Pelhrimov
20/10/2017 11:00:00
First-ever indoor Masters to take place in early January in Pelhřimov

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