Beach Volleyball

Olympians in action in Cervia and Madrid

Futures in Europe

Article Wed, May 15 2024
Author: Guilherme Torres

With five Olympians and several young prospects from the continent in action, the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour will be in two different locations in Europe this week, hosting Futures events in Cervia, Italy, and the Spanish capital Madrid from Thursday to Sunday.

Sude will appear in a Futures event for the first time in her career

Over 80 teams will be on the sand this week, with 56 of them appearing in the double-gender event hosted by the Italian city and another 28 entered to play in the Spanish capital, which will welcome a women-only tournament after having the men last weekend.

The first of four Italian cities set to host Beach Pro Tour Futures this season, Cervia will see three Olympians in action in the women’s tournament. One of them is home star Viktoria Orsi Toth, a 33-year-old blocker who represented Italy at the Tokyo Olympics and will play alongside 27-year-old Valentina Cali for the first time. The two are seeded sixth in the main draw.

Viktoria Orsi Toth appeared at the Tokyo Olympics (Photo: FIVB)

Another Tokyo Olympian set to hit the sand in Cervia this week is German Julia Sude. The 36-year-old blocker will play just her second tournament alongside new partner Lea Kunst – they two were 19th in a Challenge event in Xiamen last month – and they’re the tenth team seeded in the main draw. A Rio 2016 Olympian, Egypt’s Doaa Elghobashy will also play in Italy, having Marwa Abdelhady as her partner.

The winners of last year’s Cervia Futures, Swiss Menia Bentele and Anna Lutz, who also took silver in 2022, will be back in 2024, but with different partners. Bentele now plays with Muriel Bossart, while Lutz is paired with Julie Bovet – both teams start in the qualifier.

Beach Pro Tour Cervia Futures

Marchetto and Windisch won last year's Cervia Futures

Last year’s men’s champions in Cervia, Italians Tobia Marchetto and Jakob Windisch will be back to defend their title – they are ranked fifth in the main draw. Two other teams to watch in the event are Austrians Tim Berger and Timo Hammarberg, who won a Futures in Mallorca last year and the U20 European Championship one year earlier, and the French brothers Quincy and Calvin Aye.

The tournament in Cervia will have as many as 21 countries represented among its 56 teams (half in each gender), with 16 European nations entering duos – Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Slovakia and Ukraine. Tandems from Australia, Cameroon, Egypt, Paraguay and the Philippines are also set to compete this week.

The women’s Madrid Futures will count on two players with major Olympic experience. One of them is 37-year-old Spanish veteran Liliana Fernández, a three-time Olympian who’s seeded first in the main draw alongside partner Paula Soria – the two are still alive in the race to qualify for Paris 2024.

Czech Marketa Slukova, who’s also been at the last three Olympics, is another star entered in the Madrid Futures. The 35-year-old defender will have 22-year-old Karin Zolnercikova as her partner for just the second time in her career.

Beach Pro Tour Madrid Futures

The Spanish event will reunite 28 women’s teams from 19 countries. Europe will be represented by duos from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechia, England, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Ukraine – Canada and Mauritius also sent teams to Madrid.

Both tournaments will follow similar schedules, with the qualifiers on Thursday, pool play on Friday, the elimination rounds on Saturday and the semifinals and medal rounds on Sunday.

The Beach Pro Tour Futures events in Europe are run by the CEV in close cooperation with Volleyball World and provide teams from the continent with several opportunities to compete and gain valuable international ranking points.