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Scotland’s top international beach pairs competed in the Preliminary Phase of the 2024 CEV Nations Cup Olympic qualification tournament this past month. The unique competition format involves two pairs from each country competing head-to-head, with a Golden Set used to determine the winning country if there is a split result in the two full matches. The winning country in each pool is invited to the CEV Nations Cup Final in Jurmala, Latvia in June 2024 to determine which country gets the European continental qualification bid to the Paris 2024 Olympics the following month.


Lynne Beattie passing in Bibinje, Croatia


The Scottish women’s pairs of Katie Barbour/Rachel Morrison and Lynne Beattie/Mhairi Wallace competed in their pool in Bibinje, Croatia from 10-12 May. Both pairs won their first head-to-head matches against the scrappy and determined Croatian pairs in front of their home crowd. Following this win, Scotland faced the second-seeded Belgian pairs who raised the level of competition significantly. Despite performing extremely well, both Scottish pairs eventually fell to their opponents, with Beattie/Wallace taking a set off the young Belgian pair of Piret/Bex in the process. Finally, the Scottish women came up against some strong third seeded Portuguese pairs to stay in the tournament. Once again both Scottish teams rose to the level of competition but lost both matches to end their Nations Cup campaign, with Beattie/Wallace again taking a set off their opponents.


Ross McKelvie going over the block in Balikesir, Turkey


The following weekend Scotland’s men, represented by Jamie McHardy/Ross McKelvie and Ben McHardy/David Mexson, competed in Balikesir, Turkey, 17-19 May, for their competition. They started the tournament with a head-to-head against Slovakia that brought Scotland to their first Golden Set of the 2024 Nations Cup. The pairs split their matches against their Slovakian opponents, with a win for McHardy/Mexson and a loss for McHardy/McKelvie. This set up McHardy/Mexson against the top Slovakian pair for a battle to 15 points. The Scottish pair held strong for the first part of the set until eventually the Slovakians pulled ahead to win the set and the head-to-head. With one more match to go to stay in the competition, Scotland came up against a strong side in Turkey. Both pairs showed moments of real promise in their respective matches, but ultimately fell in straight sets to their Turkish counterparts which knocked them out of the competition.


Head Coach Sarah Jankowitz said of both the men’s and women’s’ performances “This is a challenging, high-level competition to start out the 2024 season. The athletes showed some gritty performances to deliver some big wins in both events, and more importantly we all learned important lessons that we will bring back to training with us to make us stronger going forward. Each competition is a stepping stone towards the athletes’ individual goals and the overall objectives of the programme, and progress isn’t linear. I’m proud of how they all competed and look forward to seeing how their learning from this competition will translate down the line.”



Women’s full results – Bibinje, Croatia 10-12 May


Round 1 – 10 May:


Beattie/Wallace SCO win 2-0 (21-16, 26-24) vs Terze/Becic CRO Barbour/Morrison SCO win 2-1 (16-21, 21-15, 16-14) vs Mrkic/Sverko CRO


Round 2 – 10 May:


Beattie/Wallace SCO loss 1-2 (19-21, 21-16, 9-15) vs Piret/Bex BEL Barbour/Morrison SCO loss 0-2 (8-21, 7-21) vs Cools/Van den Vonder BEL


Round 3 – 11 May:


Beattie/Wallace SCO loss 1-2 (21-18, 17-21, 8-15) vs Santos/Maia POR Barbour/Morrison SCO loss 0-2 (12-21, 16-21) vs Pinheiro/Castro POR



Men’s full results – Balikesir, Turkey 17-19 May


Round 1 – 17 May:


McHardy B/Mexson SCO win 2-1 (10-21, 21-19, 15-12) vs Jany/Jancok SVK McHardy J/McKelvie SCO loss 0-2 (15-21, 13-21) vs Nemec/Petruf SVK McHardy B/Mexson SCO loss in Golden Set (7-15) vs Nemec/Petruf SVK


Round 3 – 18 May:


McHardy B/Mexson SCO loss 0-2 (10-21, 11-21) vs Ozdemir/Kuru TUR McHardy J/McKelvie SCO loss 0-2 (14-21, 12-21) vs Mermer/Kurt TUR