Beach Volleyball

Åhman and Hellvig back to second place in the Olympic Rankings

Road to Paris

Article Wed, Nov 29 2023
Author: Guilherme Torres

Few things will be more important in international beach volleyball in the next eight months than qualifying for the Paris 2024 Olympics. The race to be a part of sports’ greatest event is always fascinating and generates endless interesting storylines involving the top teams in the world. We will be following the Olympic qualification process throughout the entire period and will also present some articles that will help you understand how it works and introduce you to some of the stars of the sport who will be chasing something special on their Road to Paris.

Hellvig and Åhman are firmly in contetion for the top spot in the Ranking (Photo: Volleyball World)

The last Elite16 event in the 2023 Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour season, the tournament played in João Pessoa, Brazil, which came to an end on Sunday had a strong impact on the FIVB Olympic Rankings.

The rankings, which will determine 17 of the 24 teams that will compete in next year’s Paris Olympics, are formed by the total points earned by teams considering their best 12 results in international and continental tournaments played until June 10, 2024, when the 17 best-ranked men’s and women’s teams will secure a spot in the Games.

The three European men’s teams that made it to the podium were obviously the ones that improved their positions in a stronger way in the last Rankings update, but there was some relevant movement among the women as well.

Two-time European champions David Åhman and Jonatan Hellvig of Sweden took home 1,200 points with their victory in Brazil, elevating their total to 8,920 and moving up to second place, only behind reigning Olympic champions Anders Mol and Christian Sørum on Norway, who have 9,460 and didn’t compete in Brazil.

Although they lost the second spot in the rankings to the Swedish, Italians Paolo Nicolai and Samuele Cottafava also got one step closer to Paris with their podium appearance in Brazil. They’re now third, but have 8,440 points, improving their total by 700 from their last tournament.

Dutch Stefan Boermans and Yorick de Groot are still outside the qualification zone, but their third-place finish was huge for their Olympic aspirations. The two, who played just their seventh event in the qualification period, are now in 20th place, with 5,440 points, just 1,000 behind the last team that would qualify if the deadline was today.

With the 1,000 points collected in Brazil, they also closed the gap to the two Dutch teams that sit above them in the rankings – Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen (seventh – 7,560 points) and Steven van de Velde/Matthew Immers (14th – 6,480). Both teams have 12 results already accounted for, which gives Boermans and de Groot solid chances of catching one of them before the end of the qualification period – only two teams from the same country can qualify for the Olympics.

FIVB Men’s Olympic Ranking

Austrians Julian Hörl and Alexander Horst also returned home from Brazil in a much better spot than they left. The two finished ninth in João Pessoa and the 600 points they earned were enough to move them from 12th to ninth with 7,060 points.

Also inside the qualification zone are Germany’s Nils Ehlers/Clemens Wickler (fifth – 7,740), Spain’s Pablo Herrera/Adrián Gavira (eighth - 7,360), Italy’s Adrian Carambula/Alex Ranghieri (11th – 6,920) and Poland’s Michal Bryl/Bartosz Łosiak (15th – 6,480).

Among the women, the four European duos that made it to the quarterfinals in Brazil moved up in the Rankings with the 760 points they earned. Dutch Raisa Schoon and Katja went from fifth to fourth (8,240 points), Latvians Tina Graudina and Anastasija Samoilova improved from tenth to eighth (7,220), Germans Svenja Müller and Cinja Tillmann progressed from 13th to ninth (6,900) and French Lézana Placette and Alexia Richard moved from 16th to 14th (6,180).

Stam and Schoon gained a position with their fifth-place finish in Brazil (Photo: Volleyball World)

Tokyo Olympic bronze medalists Joana Heidrich and Anouk Vergé-Dépré also made an important movement in the Swiss internal battle for two spots in Paris. Although they probably wanted more than a 13th-place finish in Brazil, the 460 points that came with it elevated their total to 6,640, making them pass compatriots Nina Brunner and Tanja Hüberli, who have 6,340 with nine finishes, and enter the qualification zone in 12th place.

FIVB Women’s Olympic Ranking

Other European teams inside the qualification zone are Italy’s Marta Menegatti/Valentina Gottardi (seventh – 7,440 points), Switzerland’s Esmée Böbner/Zoé Vergé-Dépré (11th – 6,760), Spain’s Daniela Álvarez/Tania Moreno (13th – 6,180), Finland’s Taru Lathi/Niina Ahtiainen (15th - 6,060), Lithuania’s Monika Paulikiene/Aine Raupelyte (16th – 5,980) and Poland’s Jagoda Gruszczynska/Aleksandra Wachowicz (17th – 5,680).

More changes to the Olympic Rankings will happen after the conclusion of this week’s Challenge event in Nuvali, the Philippines.