Beach Volleyball

German Olympic race heats up with Ittlinger and Borger’s Xiamen gold

Road to Paris

Article Wed, May 1 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.

Borger and Ittlinger are third among the German teams, but are no less than 300 points behind their competitors (Photo: Volleyball World)

Sandra Ittlinger and Karla Borger couldn’t have picked a better moment to secure their first gold medals on the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour as their victory at last weekend’s Xiamen Challenge has kept the dispute between German teams for better spots in the FIVB Olympic Rankings as open as ever.

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.

Although they still remain behind the two other German teams that have aspirations of competing in Paris in a few months, Ittlinger and Borger gained ground on both of them with the 800 points they collected in China.

With a new total of 7,360 points, the two cut the distance to 10th-placed Svenja Müller/Cinja Tillmann (7,660) from 740 to 300 points and to 11th-placed Laura Ludwig/Louisa Lippmann (7,480) from 180 to 120 points.

Silver medalists Joana Mäder and Anouk Vergé-Dépré of Switzerland also made progress in their Olympic campaign with their result in China. They started the event 220 points behind compatriots Zoé Vergé-Dépré and Esmée Böbner (7,360), but now are 80 points ahead, with 7,440, in 12th place, getting back to second place among teams from their country.

FIVB Women’s Olympic Rankings

Third-placed Daniela Álvarez and Tania Moreno of Spain also moved up one spot after Xiamen, going from 14th to 13th with their new total of 7,380 points, while 16th-placed Monika Paulikiene and Aine Raupelyte of Lithuania kept their spot, but improved their points to 6,900.

Most other European teams inside the top 17 were able to maintain their spots - the Netherlands’ Raisa Schoon/Katja Stam (fifth – 9,540 points), Switzerland’s Nina Brunner/Tanja Hüberli (sixth – 8,760), Italy’s Marta Menegatti/Valentina Gottardi (seventh - 8,700), Latvia’s Tina Graudina/Anastasija Samoilova (ninth – 8,560) and France’s Lézana Placette/Alexia Richard (15th – 6,920).

The only exception was Finland’s Taru Lahti/Niina Ahtiainen, who finished 19th and didn’t improve their points total of 6,420 points, dropping from 17th to 19th, now outside the qualification zone.

In the men’s event, the second-place finish of France’s Youssef Krou/Arnaud Gauthier-Rat helped improve their ranking points to 5,800, but they are still well behind in the qualification race, now appearing in 24th place.

Bronze medalists Lukas Pfretzschner and Sven Winter of Germany are in a similar position as they collected 720 points in China, now adding up to 3,360, but are still well outside the qualification zone, in 38th place.

FIVB Men’s Olympic Rankings

With most of the teams sitting inside the qualification zone choosing to skip the Xiamen Challenge, not much movement happened on it as Europe continues to have ten teams in a position to qualify for Paris 2024 – Sweden’s David Åhman/Jonatan Hellvig (1st – 11,220 points), Norway’s Anders Mol/Christian Sørum (2nd – 10,460), 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), Spain’s Pablo Herrera/Adrián Gavira (ninth – 8,080), Italy’s Alex Ranghieri/Adrian Carambula (11th – 7,840), Poland’s Michal Bryl/Bartosz Losiak (12th – 7,840), the Netherlands’ Matthew Immers/Steven van de Velde (13th – 7,620 points) and Austria’s Julian Hörl/Alexander Horst (15th – 7,260).

With an Elite16 event set to take place this week in Brasília, Brazil, from Wednesday to Sunday, more movement should be registered in the next update of the rankings.