2018-09-30 16:51:00 CET

Kings and Queens of Asia crowned

Clancy/Artacho and Samba/Tijan are the new continental champions

Australians and Qataris topped the podium in Satun (Photocredit: AVC)Australians and Qataris topped the podium in Satun (Photocredit: AVC)

Just two Asian teams won medals in Beach Major Series events in the 2018 season. And it was the same tandems which proved themselves within the beach volleyball elite were crowned as the champions of their continent as Australia’s Taliqua Clancy/Mariafe Artacho and Qatar’s Cherif Samba/Ahmed Tijan won the 15th edition of the Asian Championships in Satun, Thailand, at the weekend.

Clancy and Artacho, who took home the bronze medal in the World Tour Finals in August, granted Australia its fourth gold medal in the event as they defeated China’s Chen Xue and Fan Wang in a three-set battle (21-17, 19-21, 15-9).

“I am very excited and very happy to win this tournament,” Clancy, who had won the 2014, 2015 and 2017 editions of the event with former partner Louise Bawden, said. “We have been the Asian champions, so I am very proud of what we have achieved. China is a very tough team and we like playing them because we know we have to bring out our best to beat them.”

Miki Ishii and Megumi Murakami finished third after the Japanese defeated another Chinese duo, the one of Xin Xin and Xinyi Xia in three sets (18-21, 21-10, 15-11).

Among the men, Samba and Tijan, who won the bronze medal in the A1 Major Vienna presented by Swatch, took Qatar to the top of the Asian podium for the first time thanks to a straight-set (21-18, 21-11) triumph over Iran’s Bahman Salemi and Arash Vakili in the gold medal match.

“It was a really nice game to play with our level,” Samba explained. “It is also a very nice experience to come here and play in the final again. We just played a good defense and concentrated on our side outs. And I think we played more aggressively than our rivals. I am very happy for the victory.”

Yeahh we did🏆🥇!!!!!!we made history again for the firstime in qatar wining the first asian championship for qatar🇶🇦🇶🇦 thanks for all the support #asianchampion2k18 #teamqatar #monsterblock #qatarvolleyball #wakandaforever

414 Likes, 13 Comments - Cherif Younousse Samba (@cherifsamba1) on Instagram: "Yeahh we did🏆🥇!!!!!!we made history again for the firstime in qatar wining the first asian..."

The bronze medal match reunited two duos from Kazakhstan and veterans Alexey Sidorenko and Alexandr Dyachenko came out on top, taking compatriots Dimitry Yakovlev and Sergey Bogatu down in two sets (21-14, 21-16).

Americans and Cubans triumph in NORCECA

The North, Central American and Caribbean (NORCECA) federation also held a continental this weekend in Punta Cana, the Dominican Republic, and teams from the United States and Cuba netted the gold medals.

In the women's event, Americans Falyn Fonoimoana and Molly Turner finished on top after they beat the Canadian twins Megan and Nicole McNamara in straight sets (24-22, 21-15) in the gold medal match. Mexicans Martha Revuelta and Zaira Orellana claimed the bronze following a three-set (21-16, 16-21, 15-12) victory over Cubans Arlin Hechavarria and Yanisleides Sanchez.

Cuba, however, topped the podium among the men as Karell Piña and Luis Reyes posted a 21-15, 22-20 win over Mexico's Josué Gaxiola and Jose Rubio. The United States finished third thanks to a 21-13, 21-17 triumph of Eric Zaun and Avery Drost over Canada's Sergiy Grabovskyy and Fiodar Khazamiaka in the bronze medal match.

The most important event of the continental season, the NORCECA Championship, will happen next week, also in Dominican soil, this time with the city of Boca Chica as the host.

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