Ostrava, 5 June 2023- Qatar’s Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan went down fighting to reigning Olympic champions Anders Mol and Christian Sorum in a gripping final which ended 2:1 (21-15, 19-21, 15-12) in favour of the Norwegians at the Beach Pro Tour Elite16 event in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
For the FIVB beach volleyball ranking leaders and the defending champions Mol and Sorum, it was the third overall podium-topper at Ostrava, while the Qatari duo snatched their maiden podium of the season and fifth overall on the Beach Pro Tour.
“This means everything! It’s so special to play here in Ostrava, in front of all these amazing people. I also want to thank my partner. He did a great job today,” Mol said after the match.
“The Qatar boys really gave us a super strong match. They hit around my block every single ball, so it was really, really tough and we are just super happy,” Mol commended Cherif and Ahmed for their brilliant resistance.
“Thank you so much to the organizers for bringing out this event, because it’s one of the greatest events of the year and we hope to play here for the next 10 years at least,” he added.
Despite losing the first set at the venue built next to the iconic Lower Vitkovice industrial heritage site, seventh-seeded Cherif and Ahmed fought back vigilantly in the second to push the gold medal match to a third-set decider.
The Norwegians, however, regained control – mostly with the help of Mol’s brilliant blocking efforts.
Sorum racked up 19 points as both he and his partner managed to ace twice each during the final. Ahmed score 22 points while Cherif added 15.
The Ostrava 2023 event was the first Beach Pro Tour competition for the former World No.1 pair, Cherif and Ahmed, since March after they decided to skip the tournaments in Brazil due to personal reasons.
The absence from action proved to be costly for the Qatari duo in the initial stage of the Ostrava event as they lost two of their three pool matches, but still manage to make it to the knockout stage.
Since then, the former Asian Games gold winners have found their regular rhythm, and comfortably beat their Italian counterparts in Round of 12 before overcoming USA’s Miles Partain and Andrew Benesh 2:1 (18-21, 21-17, 15-9) in yesterday’s semi-final.
Later, Partain and Benesh, seeded 13th, defeated home favourites and fourth seeded Ondrej Perusic and David Schweiner 2-0 (21-14, 21-17) to book the third place in the men’s side.
Earlier, the reigning world champions Eduarda Santos Lisboa and Ana Patricia Ramos topped the podium in the women’s division to collect their third gold and ninth overall medal on the Tour after defeating Terese Cannon and Sarah Sponcil of the United States 2-1 (17-21, 21-14, 15-12).
The Beach Pro Tour now moves to Beach Volleyball Challenge in Jurmala, Latvia, which will take place from June 15-18.