2016-09-29 14:03:00 CEST

It started with a Kish

Our look-back at the 2016 season starts in Iran

  The Qatari Kings! Jefferson/Cherif celebrate their Kish Island Open success. Photocredit: FIVB. The Qatari Kings! Jefferson/Cherif celebrate their Kish Island Open success. Photocredit: FIVB.

The off-season is here but don’t fear, we’re here to entertain you through the months without the sun, sand and beach volleyball in your life by looking back over our shoulders on yet another incredible season at the beach.

We’ll bring back the memories, the moments and the medals from all the tournaments on the FIVB World Tour during 2016 and, by the time we have whizzed through them during the winter, we’ll be ready to rock for 2017!

So, cast your mind back to the middle of February. It was probably cold outside and you probably had no idea that the beach volleyball season was about to kick off in style in Iran at the Kish Island Open.

But yes, some seven months back the stars returned to do battle on an Iranian island paradise of just 35 square miles, a place full of glitz and glamour you’d associate with beach volleyball.

The tournament was a men-only event but it burst into life thanks to the exploits of Qatari heroes Jefferson/Cherif, who quashed all of their rivals on their way to securing their country’s first-ever FIVB World Tour medal. And it was gold.

The duo, who would go on to represent Qatar at the Olympics in Rio, beat Russian partnership Stoyanovskiy/Yarzutkin in the final in a three-set spectacular. Having taken the first set, the Qataris were pegged back in the second but went on to seal glory in the decider 15-12 to spark wild scenes of celebration.

Their golden path to success began with a stunning win over Mexicans Virgen/Ontiveros in the pool play – a feat they then repeated against the same team in the quarterfinals. But they reserved one of their best performances for the semifinal when they dramatically edged out Polish pair Kantor/Losiak in another three-set epic.

However, Kantor/Losiak bounced back from that disappointment to finish third on the podium, as the Poles began what would go on to be a successful season with a bronze to show for their efforts.

But final word was reserved for Jefferson/Cherif, who stole the show to become the first medal winners of 2016 and make history for their tiny nation.

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