Qatar’s Cherif Younousse Samba and Ahmed Tijan are leading the 25 teams from 14 countries at the Doha Beach Volleyball Cup, which is all set to begin at the Al Gharrafa Beach Complex today with the main draw matches.
Apart from Younousse-Tijan, the 13th ranked team on the FIVB World Tour with three World Tour medals to their credit, the hosts have entered six more teams into the 1-star men’s-only tournament. Eleven of the teams in the Doha Beach Volleyball Cup are ranked on the FIVB World Tour list.
The event is the first scheduled event on the 2021 FIVB World Tour calendar. Qatar will also host a 4-star men’s and women’s event — Katara Cup — from March 8-12.
After yesterday’s qualifiers, the 16-team main draw will begin with pool play today. The top three finishers in each of the four groups will advance to the elimination bracket where two rounds will be played on Thursday. Friday’s schedule features the semifinal and medal matches.
Six other teams in the Doha Beach Volleyball Cup field have FIVB medals to their credit, including Anton Kislytsyn-Daniil Kuvichka and Alexey Gusev-Pavel Shustrov of Russia, Yves Haussener-Quentin Metral of Switzerland, Murat Giginoglu-Volkan Gogtepe and Selcuk Sekerci-Sefa Urlu of Turkey, and Travis Mewhirter-Adam Roberts of the United States.
Also competing in the Doha Beach Volleyball Cup are Jackson Henriquez and Jesus Villafañe of Venezuela, who competed in one World Tour event together since their last full season on the international circuit in 2016.
Henriquez and Villafane will start play in the qualifier today as all five FIVB confederations are scheduled to have teams competing in the event - Asia (Lebanon, Oman, Qatar), Africa (Gambia, Egypt, Morocco), Europe (Poland, Russia, Switzerland), NORCECA (Canada and the United States) and South America (Venezuela).
The last World Tour event was played this past September in Lithuania where teams from Estonia (Kusti Nolvak Mart Tiisaar) and Italy (Margherita Bianchin/Claudia Scampoli) topped the men’s and women’s podiums, respectively.