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Qatari standout Ahmed Tijan in action

The top six teams in the men’s FIVB Beach Volleyball World Ranking are all on the entry list for the Elite16 event up next on the Beach Pro Tour calendar. Set to take place from July 6 to 10, they will guarantee a tournament of the highest caliber in Gstaad, Switzerland as the top teams in the sport return to action after the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Rome earlier this month.

An event with a total prize purse of USD 300,000, the tournament will be played in a unique format, without qualifications, but with as many as 32 teams per gender competing in the main draw. Seventeen different countries will be represented in the men’s competition, with Austria, Brazil and the Netherlands participating with four pairs each and hosts Switzerland with three.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic bronze medallists Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan of Qatar lead the men's seeding on entry points. They won a historic gold at the first Elite16 tournament in Rosarito, and after claiming silver in Jurmala, the current number two team in the World Ranking will be competing for a place on their third Elite16 podium as they take to the courts in Gstaad. The Qataris finished runners-up at last year's World Tour event held in the Swiss town.

Next down the entry list are the reigning Olympic and world champions Anders Mol and Christian Sorum of Norway. They have also collected two medals so far at the Elite16 level, a Rosarito bronze and an Ostrava gold. The current number three team in the world will be looking for their third Gstaad gold, after winning the 5-star tournaments held there in 2018 and 2019.

Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen are third on the entry list. After a Rosarito silver and an Ostrava bronze, the Dutch pair, ranked fifth in the world, will also be chasing their third Elite16 podium. They have also medalled twice before in Gstaad, finishing third at the 2015 Major and second at the 2019 5-star.

The next three positions on the entry list are occupied by: Ostrava Elite16 runners-up Ondrej Perusic and David Schweiner of Czechia, World Ranking leaders and World Championship bronze medallists Andre Stein and George Wanderley of Brazil, and Jurmala champions Paolo Nicolai and Samuele Cottafava of Italy.

The Gstaad line-up also includes World Championship silver medalists Renato Lima and Vitor Felipe of Brazil, last year’s Gstaad winners Stefan Boermans and Yorick de Groot of the Netherlands, three-time World Tour season champions Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins of Latvia, reigning Asian champions and world’s number 10 Christopher McHugh and Paul Burnett of Australia, and many more.

The 32 duos will be split into eight pools of four. A modified pool format will propel the pool winners directly into the Round of 16, while the pool runners-up will have to take on third-placed teams from other pools to compete for the remaining berths in the Round of 16.