Mol Sorum

Olympic champions Mol and Sorum will try to the start the year with a win

The first Elite 16 event of the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour will feature the absolute best in the sport as the top teams from around the world are all entered to compete in Rosarito, Mexico, from March 23-27.

The release of the entry lists for the tournament which will be held on Mexico's Pacific coast, on the Baja California Peninsula, has confirmed that four continental confederations and 16 different countries will be represented among the 28 men’s teams set to compete.

The entry list features 12 teams that are guaranteed a place the main draw, and 16 others who will fight for four additional berths through the qualifiers. The event offers USD 150,000 in prize money per gender.

Nine of the 28 teams entered to compete in Rosarito were formed after the Tokyo Olympics, while 19 have played together since the 2021 season or earlier. Most of of the latter will start in the main draw, with tenth-seeded Polish players Michal Bryl and Bartosz Losiak the only new team to hold an automatic spot in the main phase of the tournament.

World ranking leaders Ahmed Tijan and Cherif Younousse lead the entry list. Bronze medallists at the Tokyo Olympics, the Qataris will try to win an international tournament in Mexico for a second-straight year after topping the podium in Cancun last season.

Their main challengers will likely be reigning Olympic champions Anders Mol and Christian Sorum of Norway, who are seeded second. The Beach Volley Vikings also have fond memories of competing on Mexican sand after they won two events at the Cancun Hub in 2021.

Brazilians Andre Loyola, a 2017 world champion, and George Wanderley, who won the final FIVB World Tour event in Itapema, last November, complete the top-three in the Rosarito entry list.

The Netherlands are the only country to have multiple teams in the main draw in fourth-seeded Stefan Boermans/Yorick de Groot, seventh-seeded Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen and ninth-seeded Christiaan Varenhorst/Steven van de Velde.

The Czech Republic’s Ondrej Perusic/David Schweiner (fifth), Italy’s Adrian Carambula/Enrico Rossi (sixth), Americans Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb (11th) and Mexican Olympians Josue Gaxiola and Jose Rubio (wildcard) complete the main draw lineup.

The Rosarito qualifier will be highly competitive with as many as 16 Olympians entered. Among them are top-seeded Latvians Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins, who continue together despite not qualifying for Tokyo.

Austria has three teams entered in the qualifier in Robin Seidl/Philipp Waller, Alexander Huber/Christoph Dressler and Martin Ermacora/Moritz Pristauz, while Brazil (Evandro Goncalves/Alvaro Filho and Alison Cerutti/Guto Carvalhaes) and Italy (Daniele Lupo/Alex Ranghieri and Paolo Nicolai/Samuele Cottafava) have two each.

Other prominent athletes set to play in the Mexican qualifier are American veteran Nick Lucena, who will be joined by Theo Brunner, 2019 World Championship silver medallist Clemens Wickler, who will have new partner Nils Ehlers by his side, Russian Olympian Ilya Leshukov, who will play alongside Anton Kislytsyn, and experienced Spanish pair Pablo Herrera and Adrian Gavira.

All the action on the new Beach Pro Tour will be broadcast live and on demand on Volleyball TV.