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Ha and Bao warm up for Fuzhou with Samila Open victory

Men’s champions Likejiang Ha and Jian Bao of China
Songkhla, Thailand, April 16, 2015 - China’s Likejiang Ha and Jian Bao warmed up for the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Fuzhou Open next week by claiming the gold medals at the 16th AVC Beach Volleyball Tour Thailand Samila Open on Thursday.

The Chinese duo outclassed New Zealand 1’s Mike Watson and Sam O’Dea in the men’s final showdown 2-0 (21-14 21-18), while Vanuatu’s Pata Miller and Matauatu Linlin defeated Indonesia 1’s Jasita Putu Utami and Juliana Dhita in the women's final 2-0 (21-15 21-18) at a packed centre court on Samila Beach in Songkhla.

Ha and Bao - the bronze medallists at last year’s Asian Games in Incheon, Korea, who also finished a distant joint 17th place at last week’s Nakhon Si Open - also pulled off a stunning 2-1 (21-13 16-21 15-9) victory over defending champions Rahman Raoufi/Bahman Salemi Injehoroun of Iran 1 in the semifinals.

Watson and O’Dea shattered another Iranian team's dreams of advancing to the final with a magnificent come-from-behind 2-1 (9-21 23-21 15-12) triumph over Iran 2’s Saber Hoshmand/Abbas Pourasoar in the other semifinal clash.

In the final, Beijing-based 23-year-old Ha combined well with partner Bao to take the first set 21-14. Watson and O’Dea, winners at the New Zealand Beach Volleyball Open in February, hit back in the close second set. The Chinese, however, proved steadier to capture the hard-fought set 21-18.

In the third-place playoff earlier, Raoufi/Salemi powered past team-mates Hoshmand/Pourasoar 21-9 in the first set, before
Hoshmand/Pourasoar pulled out of the second set due to an injury.

In the women’s showdown, Miller and Linlin gifted Vanuatu with a third victory in Thailand. Last year, Elvin Miller/Latika Henriette handed Vanuatu the first victory in the AVC Beach Volleyball Tour in Khanom, Nakhon Si Thammarat. Miller, with new partner Linlin, captured Vanuatu's second title in Thailand after winning last year's Pattaya Challenger in Chon Buri.

In-form Miller and Linlin sailed past Australia 2’s Becchara Palmer/Tamsin Hinchley 2-0 (21-15 21-14) in the semifinals, with Indonesia 1’s Jasita Putu Utami/Juliana Dhita stunning last year’s Asian Beach Games gold medallists Tatyana Mashkova/Irina Tsimbalova of Kazakhstan 2-1 (21-18 18-21 15-9) in the other semifinal encounter.

In the final showdown against Indonesia 1’s Jesita Putu Utami/Juliana Dhita, the Vanuatu pairing - who finished second to Japan 1’s Takemi Nishibori/Sayaka Mizoe at last week’s Thungsong meet - covered the court well to take the first set 21-15. The Indonesians regained their composure and played better in the second set, but Miller and Linlin made experience count to capture the set 21-18.

The third-place playoff earlier saw Kazakhstan’s Tatyana Mashkova/Irina Tsimbalova struggle to beat Australia 2’s Becchara Palmer/Tamsin Hinchley in a three-set thriller 2-1 (21-18 18-21 15-9).

Songkhla Governor Thamrong Charoenkul presided over the awards presentation and the closing ceremony on Thursday. China 1’s Ha/Bao and Vanuatu’s Miller/Linlin landed the Champions Trophies and the $3,000 cash prizes. Second placed New Zealand 1 and Indonesia 1 claimed $2,500 cash prizes and third placed Iran 1 and Kazakhstan took home $2,000 in prize money

Final results

Final: Vanuatu’s Miller/Linlin b Indonesia 1’s Jasita/Dhita 2-0 (21-15 21-18)
Third-place playoff: Kazakhstan’s Mashkova/Tsimbalova b Australia 2’s Palmer/Hinchley 2-1 (21-18 18-21 15-9)
Semifinals: Vanuatu’s Miller/Linlin b Australia 2’s Palmer/Hinchley 2-0 (21-15 21-14); Indonesia 1’s Jasita/Dhita b Kazakhstan’s Mashkova/Tsimbalova 2-1 (21-18 18-21 15-9)

Final: China 1’s Ha/Bao b New Zealand 1’s Watson/O’Dea 2-0 (21-14 21-18)
Third-place playoff: Iran 1’s Raoufi/Salemi b Iran 2’s Hoshmand/Pourasgar 2-0 (21-9 21-0) injury forfeit
Semifinals: China’s Ha/Bao b Iran 1’s Raoufi/Salemi 2-1 (21-13 16-21 15-9); New Zealand 1’s Watson/O’Dea b Iran 2’s Hoshmand/Pourasgar 2-1 (9-21 23-21 15-12)
Final rankings

1: China 1’s Ha Likejiang/Bao Jian
2: New Zealand 1’s Mike Watson/Sam O’Dea
3: Iran 1’s Rahman Raoufi/Bahman Salemi Injehoroun
4: Iran 2’s Saber Hoshmand/Abbas Pourasgar
5: Kazakhstan 1’s Alexandr Dyachenko/Alexey Sidorenko; Oman 1’s Haitham Al-Shereiqi/Ahmed Al-Housni; Kazakhstan 2’s Dmitriy Yakovlev/Alexey Kuleshov; Thailand 1’s Prathip Sukto/Kittipat Yungtin
9:. Japan 1; Philippines 1; Indonesia 2; Qatar 2; Australia 1; Oman 2; Japan 2; China 2
17: Indonesia 1; Qatar 1; Malaysia; New Zealand 2; Sri Lanka; India 1; Papua New Guinea 1; Papua New Guinea
25: Thailand 2; Vietnam 2; Australia 2; Maldives; Hong Kong 2; Thailand 3; Vietnam 1; Philippines 2; Singapore; India 2; Hong Kong 1

1: Vanuatu’s Miller Pata/Linlin Matauatu
2: Indonesia 1’s Jesita Putu Utami/Juliana DLitt
3: Kazakhstan’s Tatyana Mashkova/Irina Tsimbalova
4: Australia 2’s Becchara Palmer/Tamsin Hinckley
5: Thailand 1’s Varapatsorn Radarong/Tanarattha Udomchavee; New Zealand 2’s Danielle Quigley/Melissa Ruru; Japan 1’s TAkemi Nishibori/Sayaka Mizoe; Thailand 2’s Rumpaipruet Numwong/Khanittha Hongpak
9: Japan 2; Thailand 3; China 1; Hong Kong 2; Vietnam 1; Vietnam 2; Australia 1; New Zealand 2
17: Singapore; Indonesia 2; China 2; Hong Kong 1; Sri Lanka; Papua New Guinea; Malaysia


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