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Double gold for Aussies at Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour 

Double gold for Aussies at Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour 

Australia has finished on top of the ladder in the men’s and women’s finals of the Beach Pro Tour in Geelong today.

In the men’s, Birmingham Commonwealth Games gold medalist Paul Bunnett (SA) took home his first Beach Pro Tour gold medal, with new teammate Jack Pearse (SA). They defeated New Zealand’s Thomas Reid & John McManaway in straight sets 2:0 (21-14, 21-13).

It caps off a busy year for Burnett, who has been on the world circuit as he looks to qualify for his first Olympic Games in Paris. 

“It is my first gold medal on the world tour at any level. It’s never easy to win that last match of the tournament and get the gold… so really happy and a great way to finish the year. 

“It’s been non-stop since February this year, we’ve been overseas for more than half the year, with plenty of ups and downs on that journey. 

“As soon as next year comes round it’s go, go, go… we want to get two men’s teams into the Paris Olympic Games and that is what everyone is working towards as a squad and hopefully we can achieve that,” he said. 

For Pearse it was an incredible opportunity to play an international Pro Tour event on home soil with Commonwealth Games gold medalist, Burnett.  

“I was unbelievably nervous this morning… just glad we came in and played a cracking semi final and an absolute belter of a [gold medal] final. Super excited we got it done and it was an unbelievable experience. 

“I was fortunate to be able to play them [New Zealand] in September.  We did loose to them, they are an unbelievable team… but we did our research last night and this morning and we came up with a really strong plan and were able to execute that plan exceptionally well,” he said. 

The women’s gold medal match closed out the day, with Queensland’s Jasmine Fleming and Georgia Johnson defeating Canada’s Aly/Katie.

It was back to back win for the Queenslanders, who last weekend took out the opening round of the Australian Beach Volleyball Tour. 

For Johnson, the win was made even more special by the fact it was at home in Australia, with her parents in the crowd. 

“This is our first gold medal on the World Beach Pro Tour so we couldn’t be happier with the way we’ve built up over the last two weeks. 

“It’s definitely sweeter doing it on home soil, and doing it in front of the amazing home crowd.  Everyone was getting behind us and it means a lot to us on court. 

“We head to the Philippines tomorrow to try and qualify for a [Beach Pro Tour] Challenger event. Then a little break over Christmas and back at it with the Australian Beach Volleyball Tour next year,” she said. 

Fleming said she was proud of how they performed over the last two weeks, not just the result, but what they were able to execute as a team. 

“It’s not just the result but the way we played the whole tournament… we were clean, we played aggressive… and came out on top. 

“I didn’t think I was nervous coming in, but was probably a little in the first [set]. But then we got the win and came out strong in the second [set] which was really great,” she said. 

The men’s bronze medal game saw local Victorians Garang and Justin Schumann go down to Turkey’s Hasan Mermer and Safa Urlu 0:2 (15-21-18-21).  While the Aussies showed incredible grit in the second set, threatening with every point to push the match to a deciding third set, the visitors proved too strong and were able to clinch the bronze medal. 

Earlier in the women’s bronze medal match, Vanuatu’s Loti Joe & Linline Matauatu were all emotions as they edged out USA’s Madison Shields & Delaney Peranich 2-1 (21-17, 15-21, 15-13).  Joe and Matauatu came out strong in the opening set looking to have the upper hand over the young USA side.  But Shields and Peranich dominated the second set to push the match to a decider. 

Nothing separated the two sides in the final set, with some epic rallies keeping the fans on the edge of their seats.  But the experience of the Vanuatu saw them maintain their composure to close out the match and claim the bronze medal. 

Did you miss the games? Catch up on all the action on SBS OnDemand – click here.

For full results – click here

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