The Qatari pair became their country’s first women to compete at a major international beach volleyball event

History was written in the very first game on centre court in Doha on Tuesday as the Elite16 event on the 2024 Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour got underway in the Qatari capital. For the first time in history, a Qatari women’s team competed in a major international beach volleyball tournament.

Cheered on by the home fans, Damla Yagmur & Rehanna Al-Tobaishi stepped on the court for the opening game of an event of the highest Beach Pro Tour category, representing the host country in the qualification tournament.

· Watch the Doha Elite16 qualifications on the Beach Volleyball World channel

· Watch the Doha Elite16 main draw live on VBTV.

Rehanna ready to receive

“To be part of history feels like a movement,” 21-year-old Rehanna told Volleyball World. “As a Qatari woman, I feel like I do a lot of new stuff and present a new mindset for other women here. At first, I was actually very nervous to be on the court. I just had to get through a few minutes at the beginning and then it was actually OK.”

Facing a top-calibre team like Latvia’s Anastasija Samoilova & Tina Graudina, Damla & Rehanna naturally suffered a 2-0 (21-3, 21-7) loss and got eliminated, but made a giant step forward for their country’s women’s beach volleyball.

Qatar has had an important role on the international men’s beach volleyball stage, especially thanks to Tokyo 2020 Olympic bronze medallists Cherif Younousse & Ahmed Tijan, who were even the world’s number one team for many weeks in 2021 and 2022, but the Asian country is now making big strides to develop the sport for women too.

Qatar has organized many major beach volleyball events in the past, but this week’s Elite16 was the first time it takes advantage of the opportunity to be represented by a host country duo in the women’s tournament.

“When I put on the jersey, it was a new feeling and it definitely felt right,” Rehanna said. “I started volleyball about nine years ago in Austria and now it’s my first time on the beach, my first game on the beach, and I am actually happy to experience this. We knew it was a strong team we were playing against, so we were mentally prepared for a hard match. But I think we could take more out of that match and also improve ourselves from it. My message to everyone is just to keep focused, to keep hustling, to keep moving… Even if there are hard times, you have to go through it and then, in the end, you will have the best results.”

Unlike her teammate, 20-year-old Damla has already experienced the Beach Pro Tour, even if it was at a tournament of the lowest category. The Al-Alamein Futures event in Egypt last August was actually the only previous time Qatari women’s pairs ever appeared at a world-level competition. Then the country was represented in the qualifiers by Damla Yagmur & Sheqaf Ismail and Maha Al-Kuwari & Leyla Mohammad.

“I started playing indoor volleyball four years ago in Qatar. I’ve been playing beach for a few months and I am so excited,” said Damla. “I have already played in two tournaments, so this is my third. I am feeling very happy to be part of history and I am thankful to our coaches, Qatar Volleyball and the Qatar Olympic Committee for supporting us. I hope we will do much better in the future. We will build upon the experience we get from this and we will continue. My message to everyone is: just keep on going, follow your dream and never give up.”

VW Beach Pro Tour Doha Elite16: match schedule

VW Beach Pro Tour Doha Elite16: women’s main draw list

VW Beach Pro Tour Doha Elite16: men’s main draw list


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