Lausanne, Switzerland, August 31, 2020 - The resumption of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour in August ended with a historical highlight this past weekend in France where young Swedes David Ahman and Jonatan Hellvig became the first men's or women's team from their country to top a World Tour podium.
With the international beach volleyball circuit nearing the end of its 34th season of competition with the next scheduled event set for September 10-13 in Vilnius, Lithuania, Ahman and Hellvig's gold medal finish Saturday in Montpellier made Sweden the 34th country to win an FIVB World Tour men's event.
Entering their ninth FIVB World Tour event together, Ahman and Hellvig were the 96th-ranked team on the World Tour before the FIVB froze the rankings in mid-March due to the pandemic. The pair also captured in 2018 the European 2018 Under-18 title and the Buenos Aires Youth Olympic gold medals.
En route to placing on their second World Tour podium with their first in November 2019 at an event in Qatar, the 18-year old Swedes posted the biggest surprise in Montpellier by out-lasting the second-seeded Grimalt cousins (Esteban and Marco) of Chile in a three-set quarterfinals Friday before defeating two home-standing French pairs Saturday for the Montpellier title.
The Chileans, who competed in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, entered the competition as the 25th-listed pair on the frozen World Tour ranking list. In the finals, Ahman and Hellvig posted a three-set win over top-seeded Quincy Aye and Arnaud Gauthier-Rat, the 34th-ranked team on the FIVB list.
France, Montpellier, August 25-29, 2020, €5,000, FIVB men's event No. 471
1. David Ahman/Jonatan Hellvig, Sweden, €1,000
2. Quincy Aye/Arnaud Gauthier-Rat, France, €700
3. Matthew Immers/Leon Luini, Netherlands, €500
4. Arnaud Loiseau/Timothee Platre, France, €400
Gold - Ahman/Hellvig def. Aye/Gauthier-Rat, 2-1 (18-21, 21-17 15-9) (46 minutes)
Bronze - Immers/Luini def. Loiseau/Platre, 2-0 (21-19, 24-22 (42)
The Montpellier podium featured (left to right) Aye, Gauthier-Rat, Hellvig, Ahman, Luini and Immers