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Qatar, Vanuatu share honours at Khanom Asian Beach Volleyball Tour

Top four finishers in both men's and women's categories, with Control Committee members and local organisers
Khanom, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand, April 11, 2014 – Qatar’s men and Vanuatu’s women proved victorious at the Fifth Khanom-Chang Asian Beach Volleyball Tour at Nadan Beach on Friday.

Qataris’ Tiago De J Santos and Pereira Santos walked away with the men's gold, after a hard-fought three-set win over Kazakhs Alexandr Dyachenko and Alexey Sidorenko.

The women’s honour went to Elvin Miller and Latika Henriette of Vanuatu, who defied against all odds to stun Australia No. 1 team, Nicole Laird and Mariafe Artacho, with a magnificent come-from-behind victory, 2-1 (13-21 21-12 and 15-11) in 46 minutes. 

Points acquired by the beach volleyball teams at the Asian Beach Volleyball Tour go toward the FIVB season ranking, to determine the best women's and men's teams of the year.

In the men's final on Friday, Qatar No. 1 pair, Tiago De J Santos and Pereira Santos set up a daunting clash against Dyachenko and Sidorenko of Kazakhstan, who won the 2012 edition. After the opening set loss 18-21, the Qataris turned up heat on a tough fight against the Kazakhs to win the next two sets 21-19 and 15-12, in the gruelling 61-minute showdown.

Third place went to Kazakhstan No. 2 team Dmitriy Yakovlev and Alexey Kuleshov, after producing a nail-biting 2-1 (15-21 21-19 and 15-13) win against Iran R. Raoufi and B.Salemi.

In the semi-finals, Kazakhstan No. 1 team Dyachenko and Sidorenko beat Iran R Raoufi and B. Salemi 2-1 (19-21 21-13 15-11). With the victory, Dyachenko/Sidorenko advanced to the final round, making a step closer to retaining their pride lost in the last year's showdown against Aussies Leonard Isaac Kapa and Christopher Bernard McHugin. However, the Kazakh duo's dreams turned into a nightmare following their stunning loss to Qatar in the showdown.

The other semi-final encounter saw Qatar No. 1 Tiago De J Santos and Pereira Santos power past Kazakhstan No. 2 Yakovlev/Kuleshov 2-0 (21-18 and 21-14).

Contesting the quarter-finals, Kazakhstan Alexandr Dyachenko and Alexey Sidorenko brushed off Indonesia’s No. 1 Koko Prasetyo Darkkuncoro and Ade Candra Rahmawan – winners of the 2012 Asian Beach Games in China – in comfortable straight sets 2-0 (21-15 and 21-17).

Iran’s R. Raoufi and B Salembi also made a successful comeback after losing the first set 23-25 to Australia’s  Joshua Court and Damien Schumann, to win the remaining two sets (21-14 15-13), while Qatar's Tiago De J Santos and Pereira Santos challenged P. Farrokhi and A. Salagh to defeat Iran’s tandem (19-21 21-13 15-12).

Kazakhstan No. 2 team Dmitriy Yakovlev and Alexey Kuleshov downed New Zealand No. 2, Samuel O'dea and Michael Watson 2-0 (21-7 and 21-16).

In the women's event, Vanuatu's Miller and Latika Henriette succumbed the easy first set defeat 13-21 at the hands of Australia No. 1 Mariafe Artacho and Nicole Laird, but they bounced back to take the remaining two sets (21-12 and 15-11) and the 46-minute championship match.

The third place was won by Kazakhstan 1's Tatyana Mashkova/Irina Tsimbalova, who entirely smashed Thai dreams following the 16-21 21-13 16-14 win in the hotly-contested showdown against Thailand No. 1 Varapatsorn Radarong/Tanarattha Udomchavee.

The semi-finals earlier saw Laird/Artacho stun the 2012 Asian Beach Games gold medalists Udomchavee-Radarong of Thailand (22-20 and 21-15), with Vanuatu's Miller/Henriette beating Kazakhstan’s Mashkova/Tsimbalova in a three-set thriller (15-21 21-17 and 15-12) in 53 minutes.

On Saturday, all the participating players will move to Songkhla province to continue the battle at the 15th Samila-Chang Asian Beach Volleyball Tour, from April 14 to 16.

All the players will be invited to join a festival on Sunday, as Thailand celebrates Songkran Day, the Water Sparkling Festival. The athletes are invited to march around the city for the fun-packed water splashing festival.

The preliminaries of the Samila meet will kick off April 14.

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