The Qatari Olympic medallists will be the only team representing the host country in Doha
Cherif and Ahmed will be looking to cap off their excellent season with a victory in front of their fans
Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan have played several international beach volleyball events in Doha and have even won medals at some of them, but the biggest of those events is now on the horizon.
The Tokyo Olympic bronze medallists are one of the ten men’s teams set to compete at the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Finals, which will take place in the capital of Qatar from January 26-29 and will bring the historic inaugural season of the Tour to a close.
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The tournament will be the highlight of a busy period of competition in Doha for the Qataris, who played in the King of the Court Finals from January 11-14 and will also participate in the opening event of the 2023 Beach Pro Tour season, an Elite16 tournament to be held from February 1-5.
“It’s really good that the season will start here in Doha,” Cherif said in an interview to the King of the Court website. “And we’ll have three tournaments in a row. We’ll just stay home, work hard and get ready for those events.”
Ahmed in action during a Beach Pro Tour event in Doha in 2022
While playing at home obviously adds an extra level of incentive, it typically also fosters higher expectations and a desire to please home fans, especially if, as will be the case for Cherif and Ahmed, they are the only representatives of the host nation.
The Qataris have thrived in Doha before, taking gold at an FIVB World Tour one-star event in 2021 and bronze at a World Tour tournament in 2018, and feel they are prepared to handle the expectations of their supporters during the Beach Pro Tour Finals.
“People expect a lot from us, but so do we,” Cherif said. “As Olympic medallists, everybody expects us to take gold in every tournament we play, or at least make it to the semifinals. We consider it fun, but at the same time, it adds some pressure. But I think we know how to handle it, especially because we have this mindset of just going and getting it.”
The recipe they use to cope with pressure is the same as they use to succeed when competing at the top international beach volleyball tournaments around the world. Although they do expect certain results from themselves, they are actually more…