Beach Pro Tour - News


Tina & Anastasija at the Jurmala centre court last year

The teams that met in the bronze medal match of the last Olympic Games in Tokyo headline an impressive line-up of women’s duos for next week’s Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour event in Latvia. Former Olympic and world champions are also set to grace the tournament in Jurmala from June 15 through 18, the fourth Challenge event of the 2023 season.

· Watch the Beach Pro Tour Jurmala Challenge live on VBTV.

Tokyo 2020 bronze medallists Joana Mader & Anouk Verge-Depre of Switzerland are on top of the list on entry points. They missed a great deal of the action after Mader’s heavy injury during last year’s FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship bronze medal match, so they are still hungry for their first Beach Pro Tour podium. Upon returning to the sand this year, they have shown consistency in reaching the quarterfinals at both Elite16 events they took part in, in Uberlandia in April and in Ostrava last week.

Hermannova/Stochlova (CZE) vs. Vergé-Dépré, A./Mäder (CZE) - Round of 12 #4834334

Anouk Verge-Depre in action at the Ostrava centre court last week

Just below them on entry points are reigning European champions and current number six in the FIVB World Ranking Anastasija Samoilova & Tina Graudina of Latvia, who will be playing at home in Jurmala next week. They are the team that stopped just short of claiming an Olympic medal in Tokyo after losing the third-place match to the Swiss. Last year Anastasija & Tina finished runners-up at the inaugural Elite16 tournament in Rosarito and at the Paris Elite16 in October, but have yet to reach their first podium in 2023, after finishing fourth in Doha and fifth in Uberlandia.

While Americans Betsi Flint & Julia Scoles, ranked number 25 in the world, complete the top three, right below them is the Canadian pairing of 2019 world champion Melissa Humana-Paredes and 2022 World Championship silver medallist Brandie Wilkerson. 2021 Asian champions Worapeerachayakorn Kongphopsarutawadee & Taravadee Naraphornrapat of Thailand are pre-seeded fifth.

2013 world champion, three-time Olympian and Beijing 2008 Olympic bronze medallist Xue Chen and Tokyo 2020 Olympian Xia Xinyi are in number six down the list. After a long absence from international competition, Xue reunited with Xia earlier this year and topped the Itapema Challenge podium right at her debut on the Beach Pro Tour.

The names of former age-category world champions Taina Bigi & Victoria Lopes of Brazil, who have already medalled at two of the previous three Challenge tournaments this year, as well as those of the Argentinean pairing of three-time Olympian Ana Gallay and Tokyo 2020 Olympian Fernanda Pereyra, also appear further down the list of 16 women’s teams seeded directly into the 24-team Jurmala main draw.

The name of Laura Ludwig hardly needs an introduction. The 2018 Olympic champion, four-time Olympian, 2017 world champion and four-time European champion will compete in the Jurmala main draw with her current partner, indoor star and former German international Louisa Lippmann, who is hungry for her first podium on the sand.

BPT Saquarema - Qualification - Women - NEDvsGER_07

Ludwig & Lippmann in action at the 2023 Saquarema Challenge

The 32-team qualification list is also packed with world-class pairs like the world’s number 13 Emily Stockman & Megan Kraft of the United States, number 15 Barbora Hermannova & Marie-Sara Stochlova of Czechia, number 17 Taru Lahti-Liukkonen & Niina Ahtiainen of Finland and the two Brazilian teams sharing the number 19 spot, Andressa Cavalcanti & Vitoria Rodrigues and Talita Antunes & Thamela Coradello, as well as top-calibre athletes like Czechia’s Marketa Slukova, Canada’s Sarah Pavan, Spain’s Liliana Fernаndez, China’s Wang Fan, Brazil’s Taiana Lima and Germany’s Julia Sude, to name a few...

The 48 women’s duos that made the cut to compete for a share of the US$ 75,000 prize money in Jurmala come from 21 countries on four different continents.

VW Beach Pro Tour Jurmala Challenge: women’s entry list