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Partain/Benesh (USA) vs. Boermans/de Groot (NED) - Semifinals #16523918

Netherlands’ Stefan Boermans & Yorick de Groot celebrate in Ostrava

The cut-off date for qualifying to the Paris 2024 Olympic beach volleyball tournaments through the Olympic Ranking has arrived and all pending questions have found their answers. In each gender, 17 teams secured Olympic berths for their countries through the rankings. With the quotas that went to the 2023 world champions (USA’s Sara Hughes & Kelly Cheng for women and Czechia’s Ondrej Perusic & David Schweiner for men) and the one spot per gender that goes to the host nation France, 19 women’s and 19 men’s tickets to Paris 2024 have now been distributed. The remaining five berths per gender (one per continental confederation) will be distributed at the upcoming continental Olympic qualification tournaments to be held between June 13 and 23.

With the finalized Olympic Rankings released on Monday, it became officially clear that Switzerland’s Esmee Bobner & Zoe Verge-Depre, Germany’s Louisa Lippmann & Laura Ludwig and Spain’s Liliana Fernаndez & Paula Soria have earned Olympic berths for the women’s tournament, USA’s Chase Budinger & Miles Evans, Cuba’s Noslen Diaz & Jorge Alayo and Austria’s Julian Horl & Alexander Horst have booked their tickets to the men’s event, and so have Stefan Boermans & Yorick de Groot and Steven van de Velde & Matthew Immers, who topped the Dutch race for their country’s two men’s spots at Paris 2024.

All this comes at the expense of their direct rivals in the Olympic Rankings, who have been hoping for a last-minute turnaround – Tokyo 2020 Olympic bronze medallists Joana Mader & Anouk Verge-Depre of Switzerland, Germany’s Karla Borger & Sandra Ittlinger, Canada’s Sarah Pavan & Molly McBain, USA’s Trevor Crabb & Theodore Brunner, Chile’s Marco Grimalt & Esteban Grimalt and Netherlands’ Alexander Brouwer & Robert Meeuwsen.

Check out the full list of qualifiers through the Olympic Rankings:

Younger sister wins Verge-Depre sibling rivalry

With Nina Brunner & Tanja Huberli way up in the Olympic Ranking, Switzerland’s second spot at the women’s Olympic tournament had to be decided between the teams of the Verge-Depre sisters. Interestingly, at the very last tournament before the cut-off, last week’s Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Elite16 in Ostrava, destiny placed them head to head against each other in the second qualification round. 32-year-old two-time Olympian Anouk and her partner Joana Mader beat 26-year-old Zoe and her partner Esmee Bobner to advance to the main draw, but then failed to win any matches in their pool. This way neither team netted any points from that event and the gap of just 320 points between them was upheld, so Zoe & Esmee will be going to the Olympics for the first time, while the Tokyo bronze medallists will have to root for them from the side.

Vergé-Dépré A./Mäder (SUI) vs. Esmée/Zoé (SUI) - Round 2 #16459001

Switzerland v Switzerland in an Ostrava Elite16 qualifier – who were the Verge-Depre parents rooting for?

Lippmann’s conversion made well worth

When German international volleyball super star Louisa Lippmann converted to beach volleyball a couple of years ago, that was the main idea – to pursue her Olympic dream. And here it is! She has earned the right to compete at Paris 2024 and, furthermore, with someone who has already been on the Olympic top, legendary Laura Ludwig. Similar to the Swiss race, one team, Cinja Tillmann & Svenja Muller, were well ahead in the race for the two German quotas, but another two – Lippmann & Ludwig and Borger & Ittlinger – were running neck and neck for the second spot. Ittlinger and two-time Olympian Borger failed to make it past the first qualification round in Ostrava, while Lippmann & Ludwig reached the top 12, enough to widen their advantage in the Olympic Ranking and secure Lippmann’s first and Ludwig’s fifth Olympic appearance.

Last spots decided even before Ostrava main draw

The questions about the last spots above the cut-off lines in the Olympic Rankings were answered even before the Ostrava main draw action started last week. The main candidates to climb into the qualification zone and push someone out of the way did not succeed to do so – Canada’s Pavan & McBain because they did not make the cut for the Ostrava qualifiers and remained the number one team on the reserve list and Chile’s Grimalt cousins because they failed to make it past the first qualification round in Czechia. Liliana & Paula, Diaz & Alayo and Horld & Horst welcomed this turn of events as they kept their spots in the qualification zone, booking their tickets to Paris.

Dutch legends Brouwer & Meeuwsen yield to youth

Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallists and two-time Olympians Brouwer & Meeuwsen were forced to yield to younger Dutch pairs in the fierce three-way race for the country’s two tickets to Paris. There were plenty of turnarounds in that race and, just two weeks ago, the three teams were lined up next to each other in the Olympic Ranking within a range of just 480 points with both spots well up for grabs. 29-year-old Boermans and 23-year-old De Groot medalled at both the Stare Jablonki Challenge and the Ostrava Elite16 to stamp their ticket to Paris. 34-year-old Brouwer and 36-year-old Meeuwsen did slightly better than 29-year-old Van de Velde and 23-year-old Immers in Poland, but not enough to surpass them in the ranking. The experienced veterans failed to win their first qualification match in Czechia and that settled the race – the younger teams will go to Paris.

Former NBA star to play beach volleyball at the Olympics

“My ultimate idea is to win tournaments and hopefully one day I will be able to play in the Olympics,” former professional basketball star Chase Budinger told some six years ago, when he converted to beach volleyball and started playing the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. Today, the 36-year-old American athlete’s dream has come true. He and his beach partner Miles Evans’ names are on the list for Paris. In fact, they were able to surpass their main rivals for the second US berth, Crabb & Brunner, three weeks ago, after their triumph as NORCECA continental champions, which proved crucial on the way to this summer’s Games. Crabb & Brunner have not been able to improve their Olympic Ranking score since that happened, so Budinger & Evans will be chasing their Olympic dreams along with fellow Americans Miles Partain & Andrew Benesh.

As a general principle, quota places are allocated to the national Olympic committees and an athlete can only obtain one quota place for his/her country.

Click here for more information on the Olympic qualification process in beach volleyball.