Doha, Qatar, November 11, 2019 - The first of two events to be staged in Qatar on the 2019-2020 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar begins here Tuesday with qualifying for the $5,000 Aspire Beach Volleyball Cup at the Al Gharrafa Beach Complex.
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For the fourth men’s event on the 2019-2020 international schedule, the FIVB World Tour returns to Qatar for the sixth season since the inaugural tournament in 2014. Doha has hosted the previous five events with No. 7 scheduled to be played from March 9-13.
Following Tuesday's qualifying rounds where four pairs will advance to the main draw, Wednesday's schedule will feature pool play matches followed by two elimination rounds on Thursday with the final four contests on Friday where the gold medal team will collect the $1,000 first-place prize.
A total of 31 teams from 20 countries have entered the Aspire Beach Volleyball Cup, including three pairs from host Qatar - Saifeddine Elmajid/Benlouaer Ziad, Assam Mahmoud/Mahdi Sammoud and Denis Messelmani/Ahmed Nassir. Of the three Qatari teams, only Elmajid/Ziad have competed in an FIVB World Tour event as the pair placed 13th this past August at the Salalah tournament in Oman.
Qatar has placed on a Doha podium once in the previous five stops as Cherif Samba and Ahmed Tijan finished third in the March 2018 Katara Beach Volleyball Cup competition. Overall, Qatari pairs have claimed six FIVB World Tour medals, including one gold, two silvers and three bronzes.
Other countries competing in the 2019 Aspire Beach Volleyball Cup are Australia, Cameroon, Croatia, Gambia, Iran, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Netherlands, Niger, Norway, Oman, Poland, Russia, Slovenia, Sweden and United States.
Five teams entered in the 2019 Aspire Beach Volleyball Cup have secured FIVB medals, including Masato Kurasaka/Kensuke Shoji (one gold) and Hitoshi Murakami/Takashi/Tsuchiya of Japan (one bronze), Alireza Aghajani/Javad Firouzpourbandpei of Iran (one silver), Ahmed Alhousni/Haitham Alshereiqi of Oman (one silver) and David Ahman/Jonatan Hellvig of Sweden (one gold).
2018 Buenos Aires Youth Olympic champions David Ahman (left) and Jonatan Hellvig of Sweden will be competing in Doha.
The 2019 Aspire Beach Volleyball Cup is the 462nd men’s event on the FIVB World Tour (open, grand slam, Olympic and Goodwill). The 2019-2020 campaign marks the 34th season of FIVB-sanctioned beach volleyball events with the first being a men's-only event in February 1987 at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The first-sanctioned FIVB women’s event was played in August 1992 at Almeria, Spain.
The 2019 portion on the 2019-2020 FIVB World Tour calendar concludes this week with the Aspire Beach Volleyball Cup one of two events being played. Starting Wednesday in Mexico, the second annual Chetumal Open will be played for men and women with the tournament finale set for Sunday on the Yucatan Peninsula.