Last year’s Paris Elite16 champion Katja Stam will be back for more

It will have been over a month since the last high-level event on the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour when the stars of women’s beach volleyball line up to shine again next week at the eighth Elite16 event of the season. The iconic Roland-Garros Stadium will welcome the world’s elite for the second time as the Paris Elite16 takes place from September 27 through October 1, less than a year before the French capital hosts the 33rd Summer Olympic Games, and just a few days before the 2023 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships take off in Mexico.

  • Watch the Beach Pro Tour Paris Elite16 live on VBTV

FIVB Beach Volleyball World Ranking leaders and reigning world champions Eduarda Santos Lisboa (Duda) & Ana Patricia Ramos of Brazil will also lead the Paris main draw bracket as the top-seeded team. The winners of the previous Elite16 tournament in Hamburg and bronze medallists of last year’s Paris Elite16 will start the campaign for their 12th Beach Pro Tour podium and sixth gold medal as Pool A leaders in the company of the world’s number nine Betsi Flint & Julia Scoles of USA, who claimed their second Beach Pro Tour silver at their previous appearance on Tour at the Montreal Elite 16, and number 11, reigning European champions Nina Brunner & Tanja Huberli of Switzerland, who are hungry for their first Beach Pro Tour gold after collecting two silvers and two bronzes so far.


Ana Patricia spikes past Kelly Chang in last year’s Paris Elite16 bronze medal match

Hamburg Elite16 silver medallists Taryn Kloth & Kristen Nuss, currently number three in the World Ranking, will be the second-seeded team in Paris and will headline Pool B. The Americans have so far collected four golds, one silver and one bronze on the Tour. They will open their campaign at Roland-Garros with a game against Italy’s Marta Menegatti & Valentina Gottardi, number 13 in the world, who won the Saquarema Challenge earlier this year, in addition to claiming another four medals on the Tour so far. Tokyo 2020 Olympic silver medallists Taliqua Clancy & Mariafe Artacho Del Solar are also in that pool. The Australians, number six in the World Ranking and aiming at their eighth podium on the Tour, hope to get be back in their shape from the start of the season, when they medalled at three consecutive Elite16 tournaments.

Canadian Olympians Melissa Humana-Paredes & Brandie Wilkerson joined forces for the start of this season and have already picked up two golds and a bronze out of seven appearances on the Beach Pro Tour, rising to number seven in the world and the number three seed in Paris, which puts them in a leading position in Pool C. But even getting past the pool stage looks like a serious challenge in the company of two pairs of the highest caliber, both former World Ranking leaders, currently number four and number five in the chart. Having already collected eight Beach Pro Tour medals, including four gold, Barbara Seixas & Carol Solberg of Brazil will be back for more, while Katja Stam & Raisa Schoon of the Netherlands have last year’s Paris Elite16 title to defend, while hoping to make it to their seventh Tour podium.

2022 World Championship bronze medallists Cinja Tillmann & Svenja Muller of Germany lost some ground they had gained in the World Ranking, but are back on the rise after reaching bronze at last month’s Hamburg Elite16. The number 16 team in the world will be seeded fourth in Paris to lead Pool D. They will start the campaign for their third Beach Pro Tour podium (after also winning gold at last year’s Ostrava Elite16) against host country representatives Lezana Placette & Alexia Richard, the number 21 team in the world, whose best result on the Tour so far was the fourth place at last year’s Cape Town Elite16. The pool line-up is highlighted by the presence of the number two team in the World Ranking, USA’s Sara Hughes & Kelly Cheng, who have already earned four gold medals (but none since the Tepic Elite16 in March) and one silver medal on the Tour.

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France’s Placette & Richard celebrate a win with the home crowd during Paris Elite16 2022

The race to fill up the four vacancies in the four main draw pools will be just as fierce, with next Wednesday’s qualification bracket also packed with top-level teams like last year’s Paris Elite16 runners-up Anastasija Samoilova & Tina Graudina of Latvia, Tokyo 2020 Olympic bronze medallists Joana Mader & Anouk Verge-Depre of Switzerland, the new pairing of reigning Olympic champion Alix Klineman of USA with Hailey Harward, Brazil’s Agatha Bednarczuk & Rebecca Cavalcanti, Germany’s Louisa Lippmann & Laura Ludwig or Czechia’s Barbora Hermannova & Marie-Sara Stochlova, to name a few.

The 28 women’s duos to compete in Paris next week for their share of the US$ 300,000 prize money and precious Olympic qualification points towards Paris 2024 come from a total of 17 different countries.