Qatar and China share honours at Satun Pak Bara BV Masters
The Qataris, who stole the limelight last year to win gold at the Danang-hosted Asian Beach Games in Vietnam and repeated that feat to clinch the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Kish Island Open in Iran the same year, brushed off Candra and Mohammad in just 33 minutes in a battle which turned out to be a lop-sided affair played out in front of a big crowd.
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The 1.82m-tall Jefferson used his height advantage to block effectively and penetrate the Indonesian defence with his exceptional attacks to help Qatar take the first set 21-9. Candra and Mohammad tried to make a comeback, but their intentions did not bear fruit as Jefferson and Cherif combined well to foil their rivals’ determined attempts. The Qatari tandem snatched the second set 21-15 and the men’s title.
Men's gold medallists Jefferson Pereira and Cherif Younousse from Qatar
“We played well today. We played according to our own game plan. We tried to maintain the same level and then we won. We have prepared and trained hard since the beginning of the year as we wanted to focus on this tournament. This competition is excellent and it’s also my first time in this lovely province of southern Thailand. For the next tournament at the Asian Championships in Samila, Songkhla, we would like to continue our good form to win the tournament again out there. We will try our best,” Qatar's Cherif said after the match.
In the third-place playoff earlier, Australians Chris McHugh and Damien Schumann overpowered Qatari top seeds Julio Nascimento/Ahmed Tijan in convincing straight sets 2-0 (21-15, 21-16). McHugh partnered Isaac Kapa to win the inaugural Pak Bara Open here last year.
Gold medallists Jefferson Pereira/Cherif Yunousse took home the $3,750 cash prize, with silver medallists Candra Rachmawan/Mohammad Asfiya claiming $3,000. Australians Chris McHugh and Damien Schumann had to be content with bronze and $ 2,250 cash.
In the women’s showdown, China 1’s Wang Fan and Yue Yuan, who have played together for five years, survived a serious threat from Louise Bawden and Taliqua Clancy to pull off a hard-fought 2-0 (21-18, 23-21) victory over the Australians in a 39-minute battle.
Women's gold medallists Yue Yuan and Wang Fan from China
“I am very happy to beat the Australian team. It was a really difficult match for us as they are a very tall team with good defense. The key to our victory today is we tried to put pressure on them by means of our powerful serves and it worked out well. We hope to do our best again in the next tournament in Songkhla,” said Wang Fan.
Despite the loss, the Aussies said they will take the positives from their performance in this tournament.
“Congrats to them for being on top of the tournament. They gave us a very tough match today. They played so well with effective serves and they were also very good at the net. But we are happy to be on the podium in this tournament. We will do our best again next week. Hopefully, we will get the gold medal,” Bawden said.
Meanwhile, home spectators had something to cheer about when local favourites Varapatsorn Radarong and Tanarattha Udomchavee, who won gold at last year’s Asian Beach Games in Vietnam and silver at the Asian Games in Incheon, Korea, defeated Japanese pair Yukako Suzuki and Miki Ishii 2-0 (21-16, 21-17) to claim bronze.
For the victory, Chinese Wang Fan and Yue Yuan claimed $3,750 cash, while silver medallists Louise Bawden and Taliqua Clancy from Australia and bronze medallists Varapatsorn Radarong and Tanarattha Udomchavee from Thailand took home $3,000 and $2,250 respectively.
Satun Govenor Pattarapol Ratanapichetchai presided over the awards presentation and the closing ceremony, with Somporn Chaibangyang, president of the Thailand Volleyball Association, and AVC Secretary General Shanrit Wongprasert in attendance as guests of honour.
On Wednesday, the participants will move on to Songkhla, where they will put their expertise to the test at the SMM Asian Senior Beach Volleyball Championships on Samila Beach from April 14 and 17.