A small southern Thai province, Satun lies at the border of Perlis, Malaysia. The colourful island that features verdant forests and towering mountains will be hosting the international men’s and women’s beach volleyball community for the first-time as Thailand will be staging its first men’s World Tour stop and 13th for women.
The Asian continent will be featuring two other World Tour stops in April with events in China (Xiamen, April 18-22) and Malaysia (Langkawi, April 26-29). Xiamen will be hosting an FIVB event for the sixth-straight season while Langkawi will welcome the World Tour for the second time after Cuban men and the United States women pairs won the inaugural event last April on the Andaman Sea island.
Men’s pairs from Germany and the Netherlands captured the last two FIVB events as Dutchmen Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen topped a World Tour podium Sunday for the second straight week and their fifth-time overall on home sand in Aalsmeer.
The all-Dutch final participants (left to right) are Varenhorst, Brouwer, Meeuwsen and Bouter
A week earlier in Qatar, Brouwer and Meeuwsen captured their fourth FIVB gold medal by defeating Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Igor Velichko of Russia for the title. With the back-to-back wins, Brouwer and Meeuwsen become the 18th men’s team to win back-to-back events. Latvians Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins were the last men’s pair to accomplish the feat in September 2015 by winning Rio (Olympic test event September 6 in Brazil) and Sochi (September 13 in Russia).
A day earlier in Oman, Philipp Bergmann and Yannick Harms of Germany defeated Rahman Raoufi and Bahman Salemiinjehboroun of Iran for the Muscat Open title. Andrea Abbiati and Tiziano Andreatta denied the host country a Muscat medal as the Italians defeated Nouh Al-Jalbubi and Mazin Alhashmi of Oman for the bronze medal.
Germans Philipp Bergmann and Yannick Harms
With three Dutch teams on the Aalsmeer podium, including silver medal winners Jasper Bouter/Christiaan Varenhorst and third-place finishers Dirk Boehlé/Steven van de Velde, the Netherlands joins Brazil (23 times, last time 2009) and the United States (once in 2011) in sweeping all three spots on a men’s FIVB World Tour podium.
Dutchmen (left to right) Varenhorst, Bouter, Meeuwsen, Brouwer, Van de Velde and Boehle
A four-week stretch for the FIVB World Tour started in mid-February on Kish Island in Iran where Mariusz Prudel and Jakub Szalankiewicz of Poland topped the podium at the men’s only event. The next week in the United States for a double gender event in Fort Lauderdale, Americans Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena and Brazilians Fernanda Alves/Barbara Seixas captured the men’s and women’s gold medal, respectively.