Back on the sand, Mol and Sørum march to fourth Ostrava gold |

Back on the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour after a three-month absence, Olympic champions Anders Mol and Christian Sørum are among the four men’s teams that advanced to the quarterfinals of this week’s Ostrava Elite16 event. The Norwegians won their pool on the Beach Pro Tour Czech event and advanced directly to the quarterfinals.

The Olympic champions took third at the season-opening Doha Elite16, in March, and then missed the last three months of Beach Pro Tour action due to a broken bone on Mol’s left foot, which required him to undergo surgery back in March. After ending the first day of pool play in the Ostrava Elite16 with a win and a loss, the Norwegians got a forfeit victory over French Youssef Krou and Arnaud Gauthier-Rat on Friday and finished first in Pool C, advancing directly to the quarterfinals.

Their opponents in the quarterfinals of the Ostrava Elite16, which will be held on Saturday, will come from the Round of 12 duel involving Czechs Jakub Sepka and Jiri Sedlak and Dutch Matthew Immers and Steve van de Velde. Besides the Norwegians, also topped their pools in Ostrava Italy’s Paolo Nicolai/Samuele Cottafava, Sweden’s David Åhman/Jonatan Hellvig, and the Netherlands’ Stefan Boermans/Yorick de Groot.

The Round of 12 will start at 9:00 local time (7:00 GMT) on Saturday, with the first quarterfinals scheduled for 14:00 local time (12:00 GMT). The semifinals and medal matches will take place on Sunday.

On the women’s side, Canadians Melissa Humana-Paredes and Brandie Wilkerson were the best team in pool play, winning all their three Pool D matches in straight sets. These four teams will need to wait for the conclusion of the four Round of 12 matches – Germany’s Laura Ludwig/Louisa Lippman vs. Italy’s Marta Menegatti/Valentina Gottardi, Brazil’s Bárbara Seixas/Carol Salgado vs. Schoon/Stam, Brazil’s Eduarda ‘Duda’ Lisboa/Ana Patrícia Ramos vs. Czechia’s Barbora Hermannová/Marie-Sára Štochlová and USA’s Kelly Cheng/Sara Hughes vs. USA’s Julia Scoles/Betsi Flint -, involving teams that were second and third in their pools, to know their next opponents.

Even though they didn’t get on the court on Friday in Ostrava after being eliminated in Wednesday’s qualifier, Swiss Zoé Vergé-Dépré and Esmée Böbner had great reason to celebrate as they secured the last spot at the Paris 2024 Games available via the FIVB Olympic Rankings.

Now, only five spots per gender at the Paris Olympics continue to be available, all of which will be assigned over the next two weeks, during the continental qualifiers. Teams that already qualified two teams of the same gender, like Switzerland, cannot participate.