Golden week for Aussie beach volleyballers in Thailand
Tokyo Olympian Chris McHugh and new team mate Paul Burnett have rounded out an impressive week of competition at the Asian Senior Beach Volleyball Championships with a gold medal.
The pair remained unbeaten throughout the pool stages, continuing their winning run throughout the Round of 16 and Quarterfinals stages.
But perhaps their most formidable performance was the upset of Olympic bronze medalists Qatar in the semi finals, earning the Aussies a spot in the gold medal match.
Coming up against Iran in the gold medal match, the Aussies were out to impress and got an early run in the first set, winning 21-16, before taking a convincing lead in the second to take it out in straight sets 2:0 (21-16, 21-13).
Tokyo Olympian McHugh was proud of the teams performance and enjoyed being back on the international sands.
“This is such a fantastic result for the team, with Paul winning his first Senior Asian Championships and my fifth,” McHugh said.
“Paul played amazingly this week and really stepped up in the finals to be a dominant force on the court.
“The Asian Championships has been a great building block for our team moving forwards into the 2022 summer season.
“A massive thank you to Volleyball Australia, SASI and the coaches especially Simon Naismith, Andrew Schacht, Paul Smith, Mick Nelson and Ben Haines for the support this year and all the federation sponsors.
“We look forward to playing at home in the near future!” he said.
In the women’s competition, Phoebe Bell and Georgia Johnson capped off their tournament with a bronze medal win over New Zealand pairing Polley/Zeimann.
Bell/Johnson were also a new pairing for this tournament, and managed to put together some really commanding performances.
For Bell, the Asian Championships were a good test for the new team.
“I’m really proud of our team for getting on the podium for this tournament,” Bell said.
“We were challenged emotionally and physically all tournament by the stresses of competition and added element of the Thailand heat.
“We channelled our energy into focusing on what we could control – our side of the net; one game at a time; one point at a time. And we got rewarded with a bronze medal,” she said.
Bell/Johnson (AUS) d Polley/Zeimann (NZL) | 2:0 (21-17, 22-20)
McHugh/Burnett (AUS) d Salemi B/Abolhassan (IRN) | 2:0 (21-16, 21-13)
For full results – click here