Beach Volleyball

Åhman and Hellvig triumph at Espinho Elite16

Beach Pro Tour

Article Mon, May 27 2024
Author: Guilherme Torres

Reigning European champions David Åhman and Jonatan Hellvig of Sweden were the winners of the first major Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour event held in Europe this season, triumphing at the Espinho Elite16, in Portugal, a tournament that had four duos from the continent among the medalists.

Teams from Sweden, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands made it to the podium in Portugal (Photo: Volleyball World)

The Swedish stars prevailed in the men’s event and were joined by silver medalists Nils Ehlers and Clemens Wickler of Germany at the podium. Among the women, Swiss Nina Brunner and Tanja Hüberli and Dutch Raisa Schoon and Katja Stam took silver and bronze, respectively.

The victory in Espinho was the second in 2024 for Åhman and Hellvig, who also topped the podium at the Tepic Elite16, back in April. The 22-year-old Swedes are in first place at the FIVB World Rankings and should improve their lead after this week’s event.

In the final in Espinho, the Swedish controlled Ehlers and Wickler, securing a comfortable two-set (21-16, 21-13) victory to claim gold.

“It feels great to win gold again. We lost a match in pool play, but got to prevail in some really tough matches during the event. I’m super happy that we made it.”

Jonatan Hellvig
Swedish beach volleyball player

Europe came up just one victory short of producing a medal sweep among the men as Dutch Matthew Immers and Steven van de Velde played for bronze, but were defeated by Brazilians Andre Loyola and George Wanderley in straight sets (21-15, 30-28).

In the women’s final, reigning European champions Brunner and Hüberli came agonizingly close to their second victory in the season after they won the first set of the gold medal match against Taryn Kloth and Kristen Nuss, but missed out on six match-point opportunities and saw the Americans come back to win in the tie-breaker (17-21, 28-26, 15-10) and take the title.

"Any time you lose a title for such tiny details, the first reaction is to get disappointed. But overall we're really happy with what we showed this week, especially in the final. This silver medal means a lot and it shows we are on the right path."

Nina Brunner & Tanja Hüberli
Swiss beach volleyball players

As was the case in the men’s event, Europe also had three teams in the women’s semifinals and two of them met in the bronze medal match, with Dutch Olympians Schoon and Stam beating last year’s EuroBeachVolley silver medalists Daniela Álvarez and Tania Moreno of Spain 2-0 (21-18, 21-12) to take the last spot available in the podium.

Next week, the Polish city of Stare Jablonski will host the Beach Pro Tour, welcoming a Challenge tournament, which will be the first international event there in a decade.