Beach Volleyball

Immers and van de Velde keep Olympic dream alive with Brasília silver

Road to Paris

Article Wed, May 8 2024
Author: Guilherme Torres

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

Immers and van de Velde kept the battle between Dutch teams very much open (Photo: Volleyball World)

Matthew Immers and Steven van de Velde had no choice but to secure a strong result at last week’s Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Elite16 event in Brasília in order to keep their dream of competing in the Paris 2024 Olympics alive and they did just that, taking silver and significantly improving their situation in the FIVB Olympic Rankings.

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 best result obtained by the Dutch in the qualification period earned them 1,100 points, improving their total to 8,380. The two also moved up three spots in the Olympic Rankings, going from 13th to tenth.

Most importantly, the result kept Immers and van de Velde as one of the two best Dutch teams in the rankings. The two managed to stay ahead of Stefan Boermans and Yorick de Groot (8,000) and also significantly closed the gap to eighth-placed Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen (8,600). Each country can have a maximum of two teams per gender at the Olympics.

Germans Nils Ehlers and Clemens Wickler, who finished fourth in Brazil, added 300 points to their total, going to 9,840, but ended up dropping a spot, going from third to fourth.

FIVB Men’s Olympic Rankings

Four other European teams appear inside the Olympic Rankings top ten - Sweden’s David Åhman/Jonatan Hellvig (1st – 11,220 points), Norway’s Anders Mol/Christian Sørum (2nd – 10,460), Italy’s Paolo Nicolai/Samuele Cottafava (seventh – 8,800) and Poland’s Michal Bryl/Bartosz Losiak (ninth – 8,440).

Spain’s Pablo Herrera/Adrián Gavira (11th – 8,080), Italy’s Alex Ranghieri/Adrian Carambula (14th – 7,840) and Austria’s Julian Hörl/Alexander Horst (16th – 7,260) also appear inside the qualification zone. Czechia's Ondrej Perusic/Davis Schweiner are guaranteed after their victory at last year's World Championship.

Among the women, Swiss Esmée Böbner and Zoé Vergé-Dépré were the biggest winners of the event held in Brazil with their third-place finish. It was their best result in the qualification period and added 1,000 points to their total, elevating it to 7,900.

The result made Esmée and Zoé return to the qualification picture as they passed compatriots Joana Mäder and Anouk Vergé-Dépré (7,440) in another chapter of the battle between the two teams, now appearing in 11th place.

Zoé and Esmée had to play nine matches to take bronze in Brazil (Photo: Volleyball World)

Fourth-placed Raisa Schoon and Katja Stam of the Netherlands improved their points total to 9,980 and maintained their fifth spot in the Olympic Rankings.

The German internal battle also continues open, but Svenja Müller and Cinja Tillmann created some separation with their ninth-place finish in Brazil, now appearing in tenth with 8,260 points. Laura Ludwig and Louisa Lippmann are 12th (7,580), but still see Sandra Ittlinger and Karla Borger (7,360) in their rearview – both teams ranked 13th in Brasília.

FIVB Women’s Olympic Rankings

Besides Dutch and Germans, Switzerland’s Nina Brunner/Tanja Hüberli (sixth – 9,220), Latvia’s Tina Graudina/Anastasija Samoilova (eighth – 8,700) and Italy’s Marta Menegatti/Valentina Gottardi (ninth - 8,700) also appear inside the top ten.

Spain’s Daniela Álvarez/Tania Moreno (13th – 7,380), France’s Lézana Placette/Alexia Richard (15th – 6,920) and Lithuania’s Monika Paulikiene/Aine Raupelyte (16th – 6,900) would also qualify for Paris 2024 if the deadline was today.

Three more major tournaments will be played before the end of the qualification period, all of which in Europe. The next of them will be the Espinho Elite16, in Portugal, from May 22-26.