Partain/Benesh (USA) vs. Mol, A./Sørum, C. (NOR) - Final 1st Place #5677001

Partain & Benesh on the way to their first Elite16 gold in Gstaad

The last Elite16 event on the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour before the 2023 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in Mexico is set to take place in Paris next week, from September 27 through October 1, with most of the world’s best men’s pairs competing at the remarkable Roland-Garros Stadium for the second time, after 2022, with less than a year to go to the 33rd Summer Olympic Games, also set to take place in the French capital.

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Riding the wave of a fabulous season so far, United States’ Miles Partain & Andrew Benesh will lead the stellar line-up in Paris as the top-seeded team. In a relatively short period together as a pair, the Americans have already collected four Beach Pro Tour podiums, including Gstaad Elite16 and Dubai Challenge gold medals, and risen to number three in the men’s FIVB Beach Volleyball World Ranking. They will compete in Pool A in the tough company of Poland’s Michal Bryl & Bartosz Losiak and Brazil’s Evandro Oliveira & Arthur Mariano. After an excellent inaugural season on the Beach Pro Tour, when they pocketed four golds and a silver, and a Uberlandia Elite16 bronze this year, the Polish Olympians have dropped down to number 18 in the world and are hungry to get back on the winning track and up the chart. Competing together internationally since March, Evandro & Artur have already picked up a Saquarema Challenge gold and an Espinho Challenge bronze and climbed to number 13 in the ranking.

21-year-old Swedish jump-setters David Ahman & Jonatan Hellvig, the world’s number two team, will highlight Pool B. The two-time back-to-back European champions will be after their fifth Beach Pro Tour Gold or at least their eighth medal. They are on a roll after winning both EuroBeachVolley in Vienna and the Hamburg Elite16 last month. In a remake of the thrilling Hamburg final and one of the EuroBeachVolley semifinals, they will be challenged once again by last year’s Paris Elite16 bronze medallists Paolo Nicolai & Samuele Cottafava of Italy. The world’s number seven are aiming at their seventh overall Beach Pro Tour podium and first gold of the current season. Netherlands’ Yorick de Groot will offer the Swedes a partial remake of the final in Vienna, but this time with Stefan Boermans by his side. After reuniting for the start of the season, the former world’s number one duo have played four Beach Pro Tour events together so far and collected a La Paz Challenge silver at the first one in March.

CKU Paris ITA-CHI 009

Nicolai & Cottafava celebrate their Paris Elite16 2022 bronze after defeating the Grimalt cousins in the third-place match

Third-seeded Ondrej Perusic & David Schweiner of Czechia will lead Pool C. Having played at only five tournaments over the last 12 months, they have dropped unusually low in the World Ranking, to number 27, and will be eager to use the opportunity to climb back up where they belong. Earlier this season, the Czech Olympians claimed Uberlandia Elite16 gold, after the three silver medals from the inaugural Beach Pro Tour season. Number six in the world, Italy’s Adrian Carambula & Alex Ranghieri, are also in this pool. They have picked up four Tour podiums so far, but are still hungry for their first gold. One of the two duos to represent the host country in the men’s draw, Julien Lyneel & Remi Bassereau, will try to challenge their strong opponents in the pool.

The other French pair, Youssef Krou & Arnaud Gauthier-Rat, are seeded fourth and will lead the line-up in Pool D. The world’s number 11 team will be after another Beach Pro Tour podium, following their Torquay Elite16 gold, Itapema Challenge silver and Lille Futures bronze. They will have to rely on inspiration from the home crowd at Roland-Garros and excellent performance in the sand to overcome opponents like the world’s number five Andre Stein & George Wanderley of Brazil and number nine Clemens Wickler & Nils Ehlers of Germany. The South Americans have already piled up six Beach Pro Tour medals, including three gold, in addition to the 2022 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship bronze, while the Germans will be looking for their first final, after piling up three bronze medals on the Tour so far.


Krou & Gauthier-Rat during at year’s Paris Elite16

The line-up for Wednesday’s qualifiers that will fill the remaining four vacancies in the main draw also features plenty of high-level duos, promising gigantic battles right from the start. Former World Ranking leaders Alexander Brouwer & Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands, currently number eight in the chart, will return to Paris hoping to do at least as well as they did last year, when they reached the final. The world’s number 10 Thomas Hodges & Zachery Schubert of Australia, number 12 Pablo Herrera & Adrian Gavira of Spain and number 14 Marco Grimalt & Esteban Grimalt of Chile will be among the 16 teams vying to join the main draw. So will 2022 World Championship runners-up Renato Lima & Vitor Felipe of Brazil and a number of other well-known names like Pedro Solberg & Gustavo Carvalhaes (Guto) of Brazil or American pairs Trevor Crabb & Theodore Brunner and Chaim Schalk & Tri Bourne.

A total of 28 men’s pairs from 15 different countries are set to compete for their share of the US$ 150,000 prize money (per gender) and precious points towards Paris 2024 Olympic qualification.