Cape Town, South Africa - elite16 - Beach Pro Tour 2022 - News


Åhman celebrates a come-from-behind victory against Qatar

The male winners of the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Elite16 event in Cape Town, South Africa, will hail from Europe as Sweden’s David Åhman/Jonatan Hellvig and Norway’s Anders Mol/Christian Sørum will meet in Sunday’s gold medal match at the Grand Parade.

The Scandinavian rivals will challenge each other for the gold medal of the first Elite16 event ever held in Africa at 16.30 local time (14.30 GMT). Qatar’s Cherif Younousse/Ahmed Tijan and Austria’s Robin Seidl/Philipp Waller will play for bronze at 14.00 local time (12.00 GMT).

· Watch all matches at the Beach Pro Tour Elite16 event in Cape Town live on Volleyball TV.

The reigning European champions, Åhman, 20, and Hellvig, 21, entered the event in South Africa with good momentum following their victory at last week’s Challenge tournament in Dubai. If the Swedish take the title in Cape Town, they will become the first team to top the podium in consecutive weeks on the Beach Pro Tour. They also won the Kuşadası Challenge back in May.


Hellvig and Åhman work during their quarterfinal match against the Dutch

Åhman and Hellvig are set to face the reigning Olympic champions in the final, but that might not faze them as they knocked out two Olympic medallist pairs in Saturday’s elimination rounds at the Grand Parade. The first victory was in the quarterfinals, when the Swedish topped Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallists Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands 2-1 (21-16, 12-21, 25-23).

In the semifinals, they dropped an extended first set (the second longest on the Beach Pro Tour so far) to Cherif and Ahmed, who won bronze last year in Tokyo, but came back to win 2-1 (33-35, 21-16, 15-11) and get payback for a pool play loss to the Qataris on Friday.

“It feels amazing,” Hellvig told Volleyball World. “We had two very tough matches today against the Netherlands and Qatar and we managed to win both in three sets. We knew it would be very difficult against Qatar, but we knew where we had to improve from the last match and we did a good job with that.”

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Entering the final against the Norwegians, the Swedish will continue to rely on their dynamic and creative offence, which proved to be a strength even in the windy conditions the Europeans faced in Cape Town on Saturday.

“I think our side out was really good all day,” Åhman analysed. “Consistently putting the ball on the sand after serve-receive has helped us to remain strong in the game. Those were two really tough matches and the difference was simply that we got a little more points than our opponents.”

The reigning Olympic and world champions, Mol, 25, and Sørum, 26, had a less eventful day in the elimination rounds and found their way to their fourth gold medal match of the season with a pair of two-set victories.

The Beach Volley Vikings, who won golds at Elite16 events in Ostrava and Paris, as well as the FIVB World Championship in Rome, topped the young French duo of Arthur Canet and Téo Rotar 2-0 (21-11, 21-18) in the quarterfinals and then overcame Seidl and Waller also in two sets (21-11, 21-18) in the semifinals.

“It was a little different today because of the conditions,” Sørum commented. “It had been a while since we had last played with so much wind and we had some struggles. We had to focus really hard and it was kind of funny that we were so focused on doing every action right that we nearly didn’t realise the match was over when we scored the last point. We had some tough matches and I can’t believe we are in the final again.”

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Discounting the six marches they had to forfeit due to injuries, the Norwegians haven’t been beaten on the Beach Pro Tour since the start of June and will enter Sunday's gold medal match in Cape Town with 19 consecutive victories.

“It still feels amazing to win,” Mol said. “And, perhaps most importantly, we know how much we hate to lose, so that’s why we try to win all the time. We love the energy that the crowd brings to us.”


Mol and Sørum worked hard to adjust to the windy conditions at the Grand Parade

Norwegians and Swedish have met twice in their careers and both encounters took place this season, during the European Championship. While Mol and Sørum came out on top in pool play, Åhman and Hellvig beat them in the semifinals, stopping their rivals from winning their fifth-straight continental title.