Bronzed Aussies at Doha Beach Pro Tour Elite 16
Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy have won bronze at the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Elite 16 event in Doha, Qatar.
The Aussies came up against the Dutch pairing of Katya Stam and Raisa Schoon in Sunday’s semi-final, in what was a repeat of the bronze medal final from last week’s Beach Pro Tour Finals in Doha, which the Dutch team won 2:0 (21-18, 21-10).
In a much closer contest than the last time they met, the eventual Elite 16 gold medallists snagged the 2:0 victory (21-19, 21-19), sending the Australians into the minor final.
Determined to leave the United Arab Emirates with a medal, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic silver medallists bounced back from an opening set loss in the bronze final against Latvia’s Anastasija Samoilova and Tina Graudina with a dominating second set (21-15).
With a medal on the line, the Aussies dug deep to claim the third set with a five point buffer, winning the bronze 2:1 (12-21, 21-15, 15-10).
Artacho del Solar said the team were proud of their determination and fight over two long weeks of competition in Doha.
“We were fourth last week in the 2022 Beach Pro Tour Finals and didn’t want to leave without a medal again,” she said.
“We knew it was in us, so we just had to find a way to remain really patient and find that fight. We never lost trust that we could come out on top.”
Joining Schoon/Stam and Swiss silver medallists Nina Brunner and Tanja Hüberli on the podium, all three teams added valuable points to their Olympic Rankings, which will determine the teams who qualify for the Paris 2024 Games.
In the men’s event, Chris McHugh and Paul Burnett advanced through the Qualification into the Main Draw, but unfortunately didn’t progress to the next round, finishing in equal 13th place.
The next Elite16 event on the calendar of the 2023 Beach Pro Tour is set to take place in Tepic, Mexico, from March 22-26.