New year, new goals: Austria


In 2024, we can not only look forward to the comeback of an outstanding Austrian women's duo, but also to teams that already excited us last year. Our excitement is palpable!

Comeback of Schützenhöfer/Plesiutschnig

The return of the Schützenhöfer/Plesiutschnig team comes as a great joy for Austrian beach fans. The duo, who first appeared together on center court in 2010, have now established themselves on a global level and can boast two Austrian national championship titles as well as medals from international tournaments, most recently silver at the Challenger in the Maldives in 2022.

However, after tearing her Achilles tendon during the MASTERS in Neusiedl am See in May last year, Lena Plesiutschnig had to take an extended hiatus from the sport — but a comeback was never in doubt for the athlete. For the rest of the season, Kathi Schützenhöfer formed a new duo with Franziska Friedl. Their joint successes include silver medals at the Ios Futures tournament and the Austrian national championships.

As announced on Instagram in December, the duo Schützenhöfer/Plesiutschnig is back on court once again. Their big goals for the new year include a spot at the Olympic Games in Paris, which they could secure via the Nations Cup or the Continental Cup.

Olympics on the horizon?

Schützenhöfer/Plesiutschnig are not the only ones hoping for a ticket to Paris. Several other top Austrian duos are already showing great motivation. However, it remains to be seen who will get a highly coveted spot. In any case, for the lucky participants the A1 Beach Pro Vienna 2024 next July will be their final rehearsal.

One of the Austrian beach stars with the most Olympic experience this season is definitely Alexander Horst, who participated in 2008, 2012 and 2016. The beach veteran has been playing together with Julian Hörl since 2022 and, in addition to a bronze medal in Saquarema and silver in Espinho, they made it into the top 10 at seven other international tournaments in 2023, including the A1 CEV EuroBeachVolley Vienna 2023. Will Horst manage to take part in the Olympic Games for the fourth time this year, and will Hörl manage to earn his first participation? In any case, we can eagerly look forward to it.

Robin Seidl also brings Olympic experience. In 2016, he qualified for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro with his then-partner Alexander Huber. They reached the Round of 16 as the third-placed team in their group but were defeated by the US duo Lucena/Dalhausser. Together with Moritz Pristauz, his partner since February 2023, Seidl has already won gold in Nuvali, Goa and at the Austrian national championships. They also secured silver at the MEVZA Innsbruck and bronze in La Paz. This impressive track record gives them hope for the road to Paris.

Philipp Waller was diagnosed with a pneumothorax in the fall of last year. After Waller's surgery, he and his partner Martin Ermacora were forced to end the beach season prematurely. Despite this challenge, the duo is all the more optimistic this year on Instagram and is calling on their fans to follow them on their "Road to Paris". Health comes first - our fingers are crossed for a successful season ahead.

The Klinger sisters, Austrian national champions in 2023, also showed good form and took part in their first World Championships last year. After losing to Hughes/Cheng, they finished 17th and recently announced their intention to pursue their Olympic dream.

Austrian youngsters

In addition to the country's established top duos, we are focusing on this year's up-and-coming talents, above all the promising men's team Hammerberg/Berger. With an impressive bronze medal at the Austrian national championships as well as silver at the U20 European Championships and the U21 World Championships, they have already proven their skills. The duo also won the Futures Tournament in Mallorca and stood on the podium of the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour for the first time in their careers.

Berger/Hohenauer also stand out among Austria's youngest talents. With a gold medal at the Beach Pro Tour in Podersdorf, silver at the U18 European Championships and an impressive performance at the Austrian National Championships, where they secured the bronze medal, the 16-year-olds are proving to be a promising force in Austrian beach volleyball. We will be watching with interest to see how their up-and-coming career continues to gather pace.