Thailand and Iran claim gold at latest Asian Beach Volleyball Tour event
In front of a large number of home spectators packing the competition venue at Samila Beach here, Varapatsorn and Tanarattha stunned Vanuatu's Elvin Miller/Iatika Henriette, who performed excellently to capture their title in their debut effort at the Khanom meet last week, in a hard-fought three-set thriller 21-10 20-22 15-13 in 55 minutes, while Raoufi/Salemiinjehboroun produced a splendid performance to pull off an astonishing 21-15 21-12 win over New Zealand 1's Ben O'Dea/Thomas Hartles to dominate the men’s showdown.
The victory in the women's event was a great fillip for Thailand and Varapatsorn and Tanarattha, who failed to make their mark at the last week's Khanom Asian Beach Volleyball Tour in Nakhon Si Thammarat, where no Thai team made it to the top three in both the men's and women's categories, especially with less than one week before the start of the Fuzhou Open for which both Thailand and Vanuatu are registered for.
Varapatsorn and Tanaratta, who made their presence felt in 2012 following their great achievement in two tournaments including the Asian Beach Games in China, advanced to the final showdown after avenging Australia 1's Nicole Laird/Mariafe Artacho, the team they lost to in the semifinals of last week's Khanom meet, in a close battle 21-17 15-21 15-11 in 53 minutes in the do-or-die semifinals, while Miller/Henriette showed no mercy to Juliana Dhitta/Utami Putu to crush the Indonesia 1's hopes in a lop-sided encounter 21-14 21-12 in the other semifinal clash.
Australia 1's Nicole Laird/Mariafe Artacho, silver medallists at the last week's Khanom meet, had to be content with the bronze medal this time after beating Indonesia 1's Juliana Dhita/Utami Putu 21-19 21-14 in 33 minutes in the women's third-place playoff.
The third place in the men's event went to Kazakhstan 1's Alexandr Dyachenko/Alexey Sidorenko after stunning last week's winners Tiago De J Santos/Pereira Santos of Qatar 1 in straight sets 21-19 21-15.
In the men's semifinals earlier, Iran 1's R. Raoufi/B Salemi survived a sturdy challenge from Dyachenka/Sidorenko to beat the Kazakhstan 1's duo with a magnificent come-from-behind 2-1 (18-21 21-19 15-13) win in 69 minutes, while the other semifinal match saw New Zealand 1's Ben O'dea/Thomas Hartles brush off Qatar 1's Tiago De J Santos/Pereira Santos in straight sets 21-15 21-18.