Beach Volleyball

Åhman and Hellvig make it to the top of the Olympic Rankings

Road to Paris

Article Wed, Apr 24 2024
Author: Guilherme Torres

Few things will be more important in international beach volleyball in the next two 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.

Åhman and Hellvig celebrate with coach Rasmus Jonsson following their victory in Tepic (Photo: Volleyball World)

The top spot in the men’s FIVB Olympic Rankings changed hands following the conclusion of last week’s Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Elite16 event in Tepic, Mexico, as Swedish David Åhman and Jonatan Hellvig are now above everyone else following their victory in the tournament.

The rankings, which will determine 17 of the 24 teams that will compete in this 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 9, 2024, when the 17 best-ranked men’s and women’s teams will secure a spot in the Games.

The reigning European champions entered the event 440 points behind then-leaders Anders Mol and Christian Sørum of Norway, who had to skip the tournament due to an injury, and got more than enough points to surpass them with their victory, now appearing with 11,220 points.

Åhman and Hellvig return to the top of the Olympic Rankings for the first time since June 2023, when they were passed by Mol and Sørum. Although the Olympic qualification process won’t be finalized until June 9, both Swedish and Norwegians are virtually guaranteed in the Paris Games.

Four other European teams remain inside the Olympic Rankings top ten - Germany’s Nils Ehlers/Clemens Wickler (third – 9,540), Italy’s Paolo Nicolai/Samuele Cottafava (fifth – 8,800), the Netherlands’ Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen (seventh – 8,300) and Spain’s Pablo Herrera/Adrián Gavira (ninth – 8,080).

FIVB Men’s Olympic Rankings

Poland’s Bartosz Losiak and Michal Bryl made a big leap this week, finishing fifth in Mexico and moving from 16th to 12th with their new total of 7,840 points. They caught Italians Alex Ranghieri and Adrian Carambula, who ranked 13th in Tepic, going from 12th to 11th in the Rankings.

Also inside the qualification zone are the Netherlands’ Matthew Immers/Steven van de Velde (13th – 7,620 points) and Austria’s Julian Hörl/Alexander Horst (15th – 7,260).

The winners of the women’s tournament in Mexico, Swiss Nina Brunner and Tanja Hüberli also made great progress in their Olympic campaign with the result. With 1,200 points added to their total, the reigning European champions went from ninth to sixth and now have 8,760 points.

That also puts them in a much more comfortable situation in the internal battle between Swiss teams as none of their competitors played in Mexico, keeping their previous totals – Esmée Böbner/Zoé Vergé-Dépré are 12th with 7,360, followed by Joana Mäder/Anouk Vergé-Dépré, who have 7,140.

The German three-way battle for two spots in Paris also had interesting developments, with all three teams getting on the court this week in Mexico. Svenja Müller and Cinja Tillmann got a solid fifth-place finish in Tepic, getting to 7,660 points and moving from 13th to tenth.

Ninth-placed Laura Ludwig and Louisa Lippmann also moved up, going from 16th to 13th, with 7,100 points, but at the same time, they saw their difference to Sandra Ittlinger and Karla Borger, who was recently of 420 points, shrink to just 180 after their compatriots finished fifth and elevated their total to 6,920.

FIVB Women’s Olympic Rankings

Other European teams inside the Olympic Rankings top ten are the Netherlands’ Raisa Schoon/Katja Stam (fifth – 9,540 points), Italy’s Marta Menegatti/Valentina Gottardi (seventh - 8,700) and Latvia’s Tina Graudina/Anastasija Samoilova (ninth – 8,560).

Also inside the qualification zone are Spain’s Daniela Álvarez/Tania Moreno (14th – 7,060 points), France’s Lézana Placette/Alexia Richard (15th – 6,780), Lithuania’s Monika Paulikiene/Aine Raupelyte (16th – 6,680) and Finland’s Taru Lahti/Niina Ahtiainen (17th – 6,420).

The FIVB Olympic Rankings will be updated again in a few days, following the conclusion of this week’s Challenge event in Xiamen, China.