2018-10-04 10:00:00 CEST

Young Brazilians top Qinzhou podium

Rebecca and Ana Patricia won their first World Tour gold in the three-star event in China

Ana Patricia and Rebecca hug after their victory in the gold medal match (Photocredit: FIVB)Ana Patricia and Rebecca hug after their victory in the gold medal match (Photocredit: FIVB)

Brazilians Rebecca Silva and Ana Patricia Ramos claimed their first-ever World Tour gold medals as the young duo topped the podium at the three-star event in Qinzhou, China, on Thursday. Americans Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb were the winners among the men.

The Brazilians, who combine for just 20 World Tour appearances, faced Italian two-time Olympian Marta Menegatti and her partner Viktoria Orsi Toth, who recently returned to the sand, in the final and came from behind to post an 18-21, 21-15, 15-12 victory.

“I tried to use my strengths, which are spiking and serving,” Ana Patricia said. “When we lost the first set I just said to myself that I needed to make some adjustments and help to win this game, but for me Rebecca made the big difference.”

Rebecca, 25, and Ana Patricia, just 20, have both enjoyed successful youth careers – with the former winning a silver medal in the Under-21 World Championship and the latter claiming a pair of Under-21 world titles and the gold medal at the Youth Olympics. It was the fifth World Tour event for the team in 2018 and just the second main draw appearance.

Americans Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil, who played together for the first time in Qinzhou, collected the bronze medal after they took Russian Olympians Ekaterina Birlova and Evgeniya Ukolova down in straight sets (21-16, 21-13).

A golden return for Bourne

Among the men, the gold medal match brought emotions to Bourne, who was making his return to the World Tour after 746 days. The American, who was diagnosed with a chronic inflammatory muscle disease, dermatomyositis, at the start of the 2017 season, returned in great form as him and Crabb took the gold medal home after a sound two-set (21-18, 21-9) triumph over Russia’s Taras Myskiv and Valeriy Samoday.

Beach Volleyball Major Series on Twitter

After 700 days off the @FIVBBeach Tour, @TriBourne only went and won gold in China with @kingcrabb808! 🥇 Now that's what we call a comeback 🙌 So we spoke to Tri today. Read our piece here! 👇 https://t.co/GUAWinlsHa @USAVBeach @usavolleyball 🇺🇸

Belgians Tom van Walle and Dries Koekelkoeren stepped onto a World Tour podium for the first time after they prevailed over Australians Cole Durant and Damien Schumann in straight sets (21-13, 21-13) in the bronze medal match.

“It’s a great feeling to win our first medal,” Koekelkoren commented. “We had a tough loss yesterday. We knew that we could beat the American team, but we did not have consistency and we made mistakes. We made a quick evaluation yesterday and tried to get our heads clear for this game because we knew Australia could play a great game.”

The World Tour remains in China for another week, now heading to the city of Yangzhou, which will host a double-gender four-star tournament from October 9-14.

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