Portugal and Canada are the next venues for the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) Beach Volleyball World Tour as the Tokyo 2020 test event looms.
After the Gstaad Open that finished on Sunday, men’s and women’s teams will be heading either for the next European stop, in Espinho, Portugal, or the next North American tournament, at Edmonton.
The winning men's and women's teams at Espinho will split the $20,000 (£16,000/€18,000) first-place prize along with 800 Olympic qualifying points.
Action gets under way tomorrow with the women’s qualifier, and medal matches will be held on Saturday.
The 2018 Espinho men’s champions Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins of Latvia will be back to defend their title, but new women’s winners are guaranteed as Australians Mariafe Artacho and Taliqua Clancy are not involved.
Qualifying at the Edmonton Open also starts tomorrow, with medal matches due on Sunday.
Winning teams share the $10,000 (£8,000/€9,000) first-place prizes and 600 Olympic qualifying points.
Following the Portuguese and Canadian events, the FIVB will stage World Tour events from July 24 to 28 in Japan and Italy.
The Tokyo Open will be a test event for the 2020 Olympic Games for men and women.
The Italian event in Pinarella di Cervia will see just men compete.
A total of 104 teams – 52 men’s and 52 women’s pairs – representing 32 countries have registered for the tournament in Espinho on the Atlantic Coast.
Russia’s Konstantin Semenov and Ilya Leshukov lead the men’s line-up on entry points, with two gold and three bronze medals on the World Tour so far this season.
Behind them on points are the 39-year-old legends Nicholas Lucena and Philip Dalhausser of the United States.
The women’s preliminary seeding for Espinho is topped by Czech pair Barbora Hermannova and Marketa Slukova, participants in the Rio Olympics.
Since they teamed up in late 2015, Hermannova and Slukova have earned four gold, three silver and one bronze medal on the World Tour.
The number two team in the FIVB rankings, Ana Patricia Silva Ramos and Rebecca Cavalcanti Barbosa Silva of Brazil, are also number two on entry points for Espinho.