Beach Volleyball

Liliana and Paula slide into Olympic qualification zone ahead of last event

Road to Paris

Article Tue, Jun 4 2024
Author: Guilherme Torres
Paula and Liliana are the 11th female European team inside the qualification zone after their podium appearance in Poland (Photo: Volleyball World)

Spanish Liliana Fernández and Paula Soria entered the qualification zone for the Paris Olympics ahead of the last event of the qualification period, making Europe have 11 women’s teams and ten men’s duos in a position to qualify via 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.

A three-time Olympian, the 37-year-old Liliana and her 31-year-old partner Paula finished third at last week’s Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Stare Jablonki Challenge, in Poland, and jumped from 6,480 to 6,800 points, passing Canadians Sarah Pavan and Molly McBain.

Europe currently has five teams inside the Olympic Rankings top ten – the Netherlands’ Raisa Schoon/Katja Stam (fourth – 10,380 points), Switzerland’s Tanja Hüberli/Nina Brunner (sixth – 9,860), Latvia’s Tina Graudina/Anastasija Samoilova (eighth – 9,160), Italy’s Marta Menegatti/Valentina Gottardi (ninth – 8,840) and Germany’s Svenja Müller/Cinja Tillmann (tenth – 8,620).

FIVB Women’s Olympic Rankings

Also inside the qualification zone are Switzerland’s Zoé Vergé-Dépré/Esmée Böbner (12th - 7,900), Spain’s Daniela Álvarez/Tania Moreno (13th – 7,820), Germany’s Laura Ludwig/Louisa Lippman (14th – 7,580), France’s Lézana Placette/Alexia Richard (15th – 7,920) and Lithuania’s Monika Paulikiene/Aine Raupelyte (16th – 7,900).

Despite their comfortable spots, Zoé/Esmée and Ludwig/Lippmann will need to remain ahead of Joana Mäder/Anouk Vergé-Dépré (7,580) and Sandra Itllinger/Karla Borger (7,360) respectively after this week’s Elite16 event in Ostrava, Czechia, as each country can have up to two teams per gender at the Olympics.

De Groot and Boermans are first among the three Dutch teams looking for a spot in Paris (Photo: Volleyball World)

On the men’s side, the Stare Jablonki Challenge made an impact on the Dutch internal battle, which now has bronze medalists Stefan Boermans and Yorick de Groot in first place (9,180), Matthew Immers and Steve van de Velde (8,880) in second and Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen (8,600) in third. The best two teams among the three after Ostrava will qualify for Paris 2024.

Three of the first four teams in the FIVB Olympic Rankings are from Europe – Sweden’s David Åhman/Jonatan Hellvig (first – 12,420 points), Norway’s Anders Mol/Christian Sørum (second – 10,460) and Germany’s Nils Ehlers/Clemens Wickler (fourth – 10,340).

FIVB Men’s Olympic Rankings

Besides the top Dutch teams, Poland’s Michal Bryl/Bartosz Łosiak (seventh – 9,200), Italy’s Paolo Nicolai/Samuele Cottafava (ninth – 8,940), Spain’s Pablo Herrera/Adrián Gavira (13th – 8,080), Italy’s Alex Ranghieri/Adrian Carambula (14th – 7,840) and Austria’s Julian Hörl/Alexander Horst (17th - 7,260) also appear inside the qualification zone ahead of the decisive event in Czechia.