Doha, Qatar, March 11, 2020 – Jose Luis Rubio and Josue Gaxiola knew exactly who to thank after they reached the quarterfinals of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour 4-Star Katara Beach Volleyball Cup on Wednesday, their fellow Mexicans Lombardo Ontiveros and Juan Virgen.
Rubio and Gaxiola are playing in their first overseas World Tour event having previously featured at events in Puerto Vallarta and Chetumal in Mexico.
By contrast, training partners Ontiveros and Virgen, who were eliminated in Doha in the first knockout round, are firm fixtures on the World Tour and are eyeing a second Olympic Games at Tokyo 2020 having enjoyed a ninth-placed finish on their Olympic debut at Rio de Janeiro 2016.
“Lombardo and Juan are really experienced in the Tour,” Rubio said. “They have spoken to us at length about what is needed to compete on the Tour, and we learn a lot from them when we train together at the Mexico National Training Centre in Mazatlan.”
Rubio and Gaxiola won silver at the 2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball U19 World Championships and since then they have played on the NORCECA Tour in North America and the Caribbean.
“It was a really good match for us as our opponents were really good,” Rubio said. “The first set was crazy, and I don’t want to even think about the second set, but in the tie-break, we managed to get ahead and win.
“We just wanted to think positively in the tie-break. My partner was quite angry at the end of the second set, but I spoke to him in the break and explained that I believed we could win and managed to make him relax.”
The men-only tournament in Doha is running from March 9-13 at Katara Cultural Village in the north of the city. It is the second of nine 4-Star events on the 2019-2020 calendar and the winners will leave with 800 ranking points.
Qatar has built up a strong tradition of hosting World Tour events since it hosted its first in 2014. Two more followed in 2015 and 2016, then in 2018 the tournament grew from a 3-Star tournament to a 4-Star tournament.