National Teams
Rayner and Zajer crowned Asian U19 Champions

Rayner and Zajer crowned Asian U19 Champions

Jasmine Rayner and Cameron Zajer have picked themselves up from a first day defeat to win five straight matches and take out the 2024 Asian U19 Beach Volleyball Championships in Roi-Et, Thailand.

The pair combined to take the the silver medal for Australia when they last played together at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinbago last year, however spent the domestic season playing with different partners.

Coming into the tournament as second seeds, Rayner and Zajer were upset on the first day by a local pairing in a match which went for nearly an hour.

A second pool match victory over Chinese Taipei and a pool round tie saw them progress through to the knockout stages.

On Friday they looked much more composed in taking down their Kazakh opponents before despatching Malaysia in Saturday’s quarter-finals.

A victory over China on Sunday morning saw the Queensland-South Australian combination move through to the gold medal match against top seeds and local favourites, Somruedee Koedkaew and Varagkhana Sogalee.

While the match was tight, the Australians were able to gain the ascendency to take the first set 21-16, and finished it off 21-17 to put both hands on the trophy.

Jett Rocker-Graham and Killian Donovan finished just off the podium in the men’s tournament, finishing fourth.

The NSW pair took an undefeated record into the semi-finals where they were edged out by third seeds and eventual champions, AmirAli GhalehNovi and AkbarzadehKashani from Iran. The second seeds then faced local team Rueangrit Wiromrat and Suranath Rattanapolsaen who were two strong in three sets.

The top four results also ensure Australia have qualified teams in both the men’s and women’s competitions for the U19 World Championships in China, starting in late August.

Of the other Australian teams, Finley Bennett and Adam Fejes finished in a share of ninth place in the men’s competition, while Lara Maric and Mireille Smith were equal 17th in the women’s.

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