In a nutshell

Following the inaugural championships held in LA two years previous, the 1999 worlds came to the French Riviera as Marseille hosted the two championships having previously held two FIVB events in the past.

In total 87 men’s teams and 71 women’s teams headed to the south of France to compete for 600,000 US Dollars in prize money.

Brazil at the double… again

Just like in Los Angeles, Brazil reigned supreme, winning both gold medals – but this time there were new names on the trophy.

In the men’s division, José Loiola and Emanuel Rego came out on top, beating Swiss brothers Martin and Paul Laciga in the final. The Brazilians had company on the podium as Rogério Ferreira and Guilherme Marques, the defending champions, won bronze.

Having finishing third in 1997, Brazil’s Shelda Bede and Adriana Behar won the women’s title, seeing off the challenge of the USA’s Annett Davis and Jenny Johnson Jordon in the gold medal match. The Americans also had familiar faces with them on the podium as Liz Masakayan and Elaine Youngs won bronze.

Worth a watch

There’s little coverage floating around on the internet of the tournament, but there’s a near 50-minute feature of the 1999 championships, giving you a flavor of the action and the atmosphere. You’ll need to brush up on your Portuguese and Russian first, though…

1999 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship

1999 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship - Marseille

Surprise packages

Brazil and the USA dominated the medals – much like they did in LA in 1997. However, there were plenty of encouraging performances from tandems from a variety of nations, many European.

In the women’s event, Germany’s Ulrike Schmidt and Gudi Staub finished fifth having been seeded 16th, while Japan’s Yukiko Takahashi and Mika Teru Saiki, the 15th seeds, also finished fifth.

The legendary Laciga brothers from Switzerland secured a silver medal, while Spain’s Javier Bosma and Fabio Diez lost in the bronze medal match. The lowest ranked seeds who finished in the top 10 were Italy’s Maurizio Pimponi and Andrea Raffaelli, the number 31 seeds.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was the early exit of men’s number one seeds, Ze Marco de Melo and Ricardo Santos. The pair exited the tournament in 17th place.

How did the French do?

In total 20 French teams attempted to win medals for the host nation – yet the highest finish from any team was 13th.

In the men’s half of the tournament, seven of the 10 teams failed to get out of the qualification phase. However, Jean-Philippe Jodard and Christian Peniguad and Stephen Canet and Mathieu Hamel both posted 13th place finishes.

As for the women, just two of the 10 made the main draw, with top finishers Anabelle Prawerman and Cecile Rigaux finishing 17th. Karine Salinas and Marie Tari posted a 25th.

A special World Championships because…

It was the first held in Europe.

Impress your friends by saying:

Audrey Cooper and Amanda Glover’s ninth place is the best ever finish by a team representing England at a beach volleyball world championship.


Sandra Pires and Jackie Silva split after their title triumph in 1997. Pires finished fourth in Marseille with Adriana Samuel while Silva posted a 17th with new partner Ana Paula Henkel.

Meanwhile Dain Blanton, who partnered Kent Steffes in Los Angeles, finishing joint third, had by now teamed up with Eric Fonoimoana. The duo finished ninth in Marseille.

Where are they now?

The tournament would be Karch Kiraly’s last world championships. The American, full name Charles Frederick Kiraly, won three Olympic gold medals, the last of which came in beach volleyball at the 1996 Games in Atlanta.

COACH KIRALY FROM THE WOMENS USA VOLLEYBALL TEAM!! THIS WAS AN AMAZING OPPORTUNITY FOR ME!! ILL SEE YOU IN A FEW YEARS COACH 😂 #karchkiraly #uswnt #usavolleyball #THEGOAT #goldmedalist #alltimewinner #janessa #IVBC #studentathlete #adida #ASC #ironclad #northview #volleyball

91 Likes, 2 Comments - Janessa Baza 🇲🇽 (@janessaathletics) on Instagram: "COACH KIRALY FROM THE WOMENS USA VOLLEYBALL TEAM!! THIS WAS AN AMAZING OPPORTUNITY FOR ME!! ILL SEE..."

Without doubt one of the greatest beach players of all-time (check out his AVP record between 1992 and 1996 and start rubbing your eyes), Karch is now the head coach of the United States women’s national volleyball team. He helped Team USA to a bronze in the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

The championship in three words?

Brazilians win again.