CKU 230820 3878

Åhman and Hellvig celebrate their second Beach Pro Tour title in 2023

Absent from the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour since June, Swedish David Åhman and Jonatan Hellvig returned to international competition with gold medals around their necks as they triumphed at this week’s Elite16 event in Hamburg, Germany.

The reigning European champions claimed their second international title in the 2023 season with a thrilling three-set (21-16, 22-24, 21-19) win over Italians Paolo Nicolai and Samuele Cottafava in the gold medal match held at the Am Rothenbaum Stadium on Sunday. Reigning Olympic and world champions Anders Mol and Christian Sørum of Norway took bronze in Hamburg.

  • The Beach Pro Tour Hamburg Elite16 matches are available on demand on VBTV

The Swedes, who took gold at the Tepic Elite16, back in March, had to sit out of international competition after finishing fifth in Ostrava, in early June, because Hellvig had a fractured right hand.

Åhman and Hellvig gave signs they hadn’t missed a step two weeks ago, when they successfully defended their European title in Vienna in their first event back, but were yet to be tested against the elite of the sport on the Beach Pro Tour.

“My hand is fine right now, I don’t feel anything,” Hellvig explained. “Unfortunately we missed a few tournaments, so now we’re very excited to be back but also super focused in every training session and every match.”

Cottafava/Nicolai (ITA) vs. Åhman/Hellvig (SWE) - Final 1st Place #6535722

Hellvig was targeted by most Italian serves in the gold medal match

That happened this week in Hamburg, where, after dropping their opening pool play match to Nicolai and Cottafava, the Swedish were unstoppable, winning their next five encounters until they got revenge against the Italians in the gold medal match.

“It was a crazy match,” Åhman reacted. “We’ve played them three times in the last few weeks and all matches went to three sets and were super close. They’re an amazing team, we had to give our all and it was very close, but we made it, and we’re so happy. This has been an unbelievable tournament for us.”

CKU 230820 3910

Italians, Swedish and Norwegians pose at the all-European podium in Hamburg

Beach Pro Tour Hamburg Elite16 – Results

In the bronze medal match, Mol and Sørum, who for the first time in the season didn’t make it to the gold medal match of a Beach Pro Tour event, dominated Brazilians Andre Loyola and George Wanderley to a two-set (21-19, 21-16) victory to finish third.

“It’s always tough to recover after losing in the semifinals because we always want to play for gold,” Mol commented. “Italy had a great match, so we went back to the hotel and prepared for another tough battle against Brazil. We’re really happy with the bronze and wanted to thank everyone for coming out.”

It was the seventh podium appearance for the Beach Volley Vikings in 2023, following victories in Doha, Ostrava and Montréal and second-place finishes in Tepic, Uberlândia and Gstaad.

After Hamburg, the top teams in the world will be back on the court on the Beach Pro Tour from September 27-October 1 in Paris, the host city of the 2024 Olympics, which will host the eighth Elite16 event of the season.

Quick links:
Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour 2023
Subscribe to Volleyball World's Newsletter