Beach Volleyball

European champions triumph at Tepic Elite 16

Beach Pro Tour

Article Mon, Apr 22 2024
Author: Guilherme Torres

Reigning European champions David Åhman/Jonatan Hellvig of Sweden and Nina Brunner/Tanja Hüberli of Switzerland took the continent to the top of the podium at this week’s Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Elite16 event held in Tepic, Mexico.

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

Their victories capped off a successful week for European teams competing at the highest level of the international event as the continent also took home the silver medal in the women’s event and had five teams making it to the semifinals in Mexico.

Playing in just their second event in the season, Åhman and Hellvig earned their second medal in the year following silver in Doha last month by topping Brazilians Andre Loyola and George Wanderley 2-1 (21-17, 19-21, 15-10) to complete their undefeated campaign in Tepic with six victories and just three sets dropped.

“We love Mexico, it’s always great to play here. Entering the tie-breaker, we just wanted to give everything we had. We had played six matches and were a little bit tired, but we would give all we had left to win.”

Jonatan Hellvig
Swedish beach volleyball player
Åhman and Hellvig successfully defended the title they won in Tepic last year (Photo: Volleyball World)

It was the seventh title of the Swedish on the Beach Pro Tour and the second straight in Tepic as they also won the tournament held in the Mexican city in 2023.

Germans Nils Ehlers and Clemens Wickler had the opportunity to secure their first medals in the season and take a second European duo to the men’s podium, but fell to Cubans Jorge Alayo and Noslen Diaz in straight sets (21-17, 21-18) and finished fourth.

The women’s event did have two European duos in the top three as Brunner and Hüberli faced Dutch Raisa Schoon and Katja Stam in the final in Mexico in a rematch of the gold medal match of the 2021 EuroBeachVolley.

It was a battle between the two and the Swiss managed to win 2-1 (21-14, 19-21, 19-17), claiming their first title on the Beach Pro Tour.

“We’re super happy about this win. It was a real fight and a really tough match. It’s our first gold on the Beach Pro Tour and I think we’ve probably waited for it longer than we should. It’s unbelievable.”

Nina Brunner
Swiss beach volleyball player
Two-time European champions Hüberli and Brunner won their first Beach Pro Tour title as partners (Photo: Volleyball World)

Europe was just a few points away from having a full podium sweep in the women’s event in Tepic as Italians Marta Menegatti and Valentina Gottardi strongly challenged Brazilians Carol Salgado and Bárbara Seixas for bronze, but fell in the tie-breaker (22-20, 21-23, 23-25).

In order to remain active on the Beach Pro Tour next week, European teams will have to take a huge trip around the globe as the next tournament, a Challenge one, will be held in Xiamen, China, from April 25-28.