Beach Volleyball

Paulikiene and Raupelyte closer to Paris after Recife bronze

Road to Paris

Article Wed, Mar 27 2024
Author: Guilherme Torres

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

Paulikiene and Raupelyte could become the first Lithuanian team to appear in the Olympics (Photo: Volleyball World)

Last week’s Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Challenge event held in Recife Brazil, boosted Monika Paulikiene and Aine Raupelyte’s aspirations of becoming the first Lithuanian duo to compete at the Olympics as the two managed to move one step up in the FIVB Olympic Rankings after the conclusion of the event.

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.

In Brazil, the 29-year-old Paulikiene and the 23-year-old Raupelyte had their most productive result in their Olympic campaign so far, finishing third and collecting 720 points. After the tournament, the two improved their points total to 6,480 and moved up from 16th to 15th in the rankings.

The team they defeated in the bronze medal match in Brazil, Germans Karla Borger and Sandra Ittlinger also gave an important step in their plan to play in Paris in a few months. The two, who now have 6,080 points, moved back inside the qualification zone in 17th place and also passed compatriots Laura Ludwig and Louisa Lippmann, becoming the second-best German team in the Olympic race.

FIVB Women’s Olympic Ranking

The winners of the Recife Challenge, Latvians Tina Graudina and Anastasija Samoilova maintained the sixth spot in the Olympic Rankings, but added 340 points to their total, elevating it to 8,560.

The Tokyo Olympians are one of four European duos to appear inside the top ten, alongside the Netherlands’ Raisa Schoon/Katja Stam (fifth – 8,840 points), Italy’s Marta Menegatti/Valentina Gottardi (eighth - 8,200) and Switzerland’s Nina Brunner/Tanja Hüberli (tenth – 7,100).

Also inside the qualification zone are Switzerland’s Esmée Böbner/Zoé Vergé-Dépré (11th – 7,020), Germany’s Svenja Müller/Cinja Tillmann (12th – 6,900), France’s Lézana Placette/Alexia Richard (13th - 6,720), Spain’s Daniela Álvarez/Tania Moreno (14th – 6,680) and Finland’s Taru Lahti/Niina Ahtiainen (16th – 6,220).

Among the men, not much changed for the European teams ranked inside the qualification zone, but two tandems who are moving up in the rankings continued to do so with their results in Brazil.

Norwegians Hendrik Mol and Mathias Berntsen collected 600 points with their fifth-place in Recife and now have 5,920. The Vikings are now the 19th-best men’s team on the list, sitting 520 points behind the Chilean cousins Marco and Esteban Grimalt, who are currently in 17th place.

Javier and Joaquin Bello will need to score big results in the remaining events of the Olympic qualification period (Photo: Volleyball World)

The English Bello twins, who took bronze in Recife, earning 720 points, and were the best European team in the tournament, also moved up, but are still far behind, in 31st place, with 4,360 points. The Bellos have, however, great potential to move up in the rankings over the next few weeks as they only have nine eligible results and will add the totality of the points they win in their next three events before they start discarding their lower finishers.

FIVB Men’s Olympic Rankings

Europe continues in a good position to have the vast majority of the teams qualified for Paris via the Olympic Rankings. Right now, six of the ten best teams in the list come from the continent – Norway’s Anders Mol/Christian Sørum (first – 10,460 points), Sweden’s David Åhman/Jonatan Hellvig (second – 10,020), Germany’s Nils Ehlers/Clemens Wickler (third – 9,100), Italy’s Paolo Nicolai/Samuele Cottafava (fourth – 8,800), the Netherlands’ Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen (seventh – 8,160) and Spain’s Pablo Herrera/Adrián Gavira (ninth – 7,500).

Four other European teams would qualify for Paris 2024 if the qualification period ended now – Poland’s Michal Bryl/Bartosz Losiak (13th – 7,080), Austria’s Julian Hörl/Alexander Horst (14th – 7,060), the Netherlands’ Matthew Immers/Stevven van de Velde (15th – 6,940) and Italy’s Alex Ranghieri/Adrian Carambula (16th – 6,920).

This week teams from Europe and around the world will have another opportunity to earn more Olympic points and move up in the rankings as the Beach Pro Tour is hosting another Challenge event in Brazil, this one in Saquarema.