Top seeds Jefferson Santos Pereira and Cherif Younousse of Qatar launched their quest for making it to the second successive FIVB world beach volleyball championship with a one-way victory over Omani team at the Qatar Master on Wednesday.
At the Aspire Park, Olympians Pereira and Younousse, who won the Satun Pak Bura title in Thailand last month, crushed Badar al Subhi and Noah Aljalbubi 21-13 21-9 to post their first win in the Group A.
Their next match is against Hong Kong’s Lau Tsz Ho Kelvin and Wong Pui Lam.
Qatar’s second team of Julio do Nascimento and Ahmed Tijan also had a hot start against Oman’s Mohammed al Shibli and Hood Aljalaboubi. Both do Nascimento and Tijan were strong at the net and scripted a facile 21-8 21-9 triumph in the Group C.
But Australians Chris McHugh and Damien Schuman, the winners of the bronze medal at the Satun Pak Bara Master and Asian Championships recently, found the going tough. However, the second seeds recovered their touch on time and pulled off a win in three sets in the Group B.
Adisorn Khaolumtarn and Marudet Buntem troubled the Australian No. 1 team with their retrieves and won the opening set. But using their experience, McHugh and Schuman pulled through, completing a fine comeback 19-21 21-15 15-11 victory.
Other two teams in the race for four qualification spots from Asia – Indonesians Ade Cadra Rachmawan and Mohammad Ashfiya and Iranians Rahman Raoufi and Bahman Salemiinjehboroun, the Asian champions, also won their opening matches without much ado.
The Indonesians posted a 21-15 21-12 victory over Lebanese rivals Joe el Azzi and Jean Abi Chedid, while the Iranians handed a 21-12 21-15 defeat to Saudi Arabians Ahmed al Darwish and Hassan al Abdulbaqi.
Earlier in the day, the draw was held at the technical meeting and 24 teams have been divided into eight groups of three outfits each. Kazakhstan’s players, including 2014 Asian Games champions Alexandr Dyachenko and Alexey Sidorenko, arrived in Doha late Tuesday night.
The event is quite vital for top teams in the fray as this will determine which four pairs are going to contest in the FIVB worlds, to be held in Vienna, Australia in July-August.
After the group play, the 16 top teams will enter the elimination rounds. The winner will earn 320 points, while the runners-up spot carries 252. The third place is worth 192 points and the fourth spot winner will claim 160.