Udon Thani, Thailand, February 16, 2020 – Australian veterans Christopher McHugh/Damien Schumann smashed China’s sweet dreams of completing a clean sweep of both titles on offer in the 2020 Asian Senior Beach Volleyball Championships at Wessuwan Sports Stadium, Udon Thani Municipality here after cruising to a 2-1 win over Chinese third seeds Wu Jiaxin/Ha Likejiang in a highly-anticipated men’s showdown to capture gold medal.
However, the first gold medal was within the China’s reach since Saturday when second-seeds Wang Fan/Xia Xinyi and Wang Jingzhe/Wen Shuhui set up an all-Chinese final showdown in the women’s event.
As Wang/Xia had won the Indonesia-hosted 2018 Asian Games to their names aside from claiming gold medal at the last year’s 7th CISM Military World Games in Wuhan and silver medal at the FIVB World Tour 2-star event in Nanjing in 2018, Wang Jingzhe, 23, and Wen Shuhui, 26, had captured three FIVB World Tour gold medals consisting of the 2-star event in Zhonghai twice in 2018 and 2019 and the Silk Road Nanjing Open World Tour 2-star event in 2019.
Against Wang Jingzhe/Wen Shuhai in the final encounter, Wang/Xia were in irresistible form and
defending brilliantly at the net, blocking almost everything the compatriots could throw at them to seal the deal 21-17 21-16 in rapid time, winning in just 35 minutes.
It was the China’s 12th gold medal in the double-gender Asian Senior Beach Volleyball Championships and the second gold of Xia Xinyi. The 23-year-old Xia from Beijing had won her first gold in the Asian meet after partnering Xue Chen to land the Asian crown in 2016 in Sydney, but this was Wang Fan’s unprecedented victory in the Asian Championships following her four times in succession in contesting the final showdown.
Wang Fan partnered Yue Yuan to claim silver medal in 2017 in Songkhla, Thailand before teaming up with Xue Chen to pick up another silver medal the following year in Satun, Thailand. Wang Fan also joined forces with Xia Xinyi to finish second at the last year’s Asian meet at home in Maoming, where they went down to the eventual winners Taliqua Clancy/Mariafe Artacho del Solar. The Australian duo did not return to defend their consecutive two-time title this time due to the heavy competition programmes they will have with the World Tour this year.
Megumi Murakami/Miki Ishii walked over the injury-prone Sayaka Mizoe/Takemi Nishibori in the all-Japanese third-place playoff to claim bronze medal.
Meanwhile, third-seeds Wu Jiaxia/Ha likejiang stood a chance of making it a China’s double victory in this topflight competition when the bronze medallists at the previous Asian meet at home in Maoming advanced to the men’s final encounter. However, China subdued as their high hopes completely dashed.
Australian fourth seeds Christopher McHugh/Damien Schumann stopped the Chinese duo in a thrilling three-setter. The two long-serving veterans of the Aussie volleyball, who wrote another chapter of history for Australia by capturing the first-ever men’s beach volleyball gold in the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, mixed some beautiful disguised shots with McHugh’s power and height at the net to pull out a 2-1 (21-17 14-21 15-10) win in dramatic fashion which ended in exhausting 51 minutes.
It was the 4th gold medal of Australia in the action-packed men’s event, but 9 gold medals in total for the country.
Zachary Schubert/Maximilian Guehrer, who went down to Chinese Wu/Ha in the semi-finals on Saturday, handed Australia an additional bronze medal after an exceptional 25-23 21-16 win against Kazakhstan’s Alexandr Dyachenko/Alexey Sidorenko, gold medallists at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, Korea, in the third-place playoff.
Mr Somporn Chaibangyang, President of Thailand Volleyball Association, AVC Secretary-General Mr Shanrit Wongprasert, Udon Thani Deputy Governor Thawatchai Srithong and Udon Thani Municipal Mayor Mr Itthipol Treewatanasuwan jointly presided over the awards presentation and the closing ceremony on Sunday.
Shanrit presented AVC Plaques to Thawatchai and Itthipol for their great contributions in successfully organising the 2020 Asian Senior Beach Volleyball Championships, while Somporn gave away TVA Plaques to Thawatchai, Itthipol and those supporting TVA in making the Championships a memorable success.
New Zealand will host the next AVC beach volleyball event in the double-gender 2020 AVC Continental Cup Phase 1 Oceania Zone in Mt Maunganui from March 10 to 12, while Thailand will host the second tournament of the year in the 2020 Asian U19 Beach Volleyball Championships in Phuket between March 12 and 15.
Referee Delegate Mr Jayaraman Srinivasan from India, far left, and some referees officiating at this tournament watch a game.
TVA President Mr Somporn Chaibangyang gives away TVA Plaque to Udon Thani Deputy Governor Mr Thawatchai Srithong.
AVC Secretary-General Mr Shanrit Wongprasert presents AVC Plaque to Udon Thani Municipal Mayor Mr Itthipol Treewatanasuwan.
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