Maoming, China, May 9, 2019 – The sort of good things came to the Asian beach volleyball’s elite as they successfully cleared the first hurdle at the 2019 Asian Senior Beach Volleyball Championships here, with Chinese top seeds Gao Peng/Li Yang and reigning champions Ahmed Tijan/Cherif Younousse thrashing their respective rivals with ease.
On Thursday, the opening day of the competition, Gao Peng/Li Yang, who captured the men’s title at the last month’s Asian Tour Samila Open in Songkhla, Thailand, handed Wang Chin-Ju/Hsieh Ya-Jen’s the day’s second loss after beating the Chinese Taipei’s duo 2-0 (21-16 21-13) in their Pool A encounter. The Chinese pairing are due to next take on Aussies Paul Burnett/Maximilian Guehrer, who earlier struggled to beat Wang/Hsieh 2-1 (21-18 18-21 15-9) in their curtain-raising match.
Second-seeds Ahmed Tijan/Cherif Younousse, current No.8 in the World Tour ranking, also enjoyed their first win following a convincing 2-0 (21-18 21-15) win against Japan’s Jumpei Ikeda/Katsuhiro Shiratori. The superb Qatari duo, defending champions and gold medallists at the last year’s Asian Games in Indonesia, will next play Kiwis Alani Nicklin/Thomas Hartles on Friday.
Another Chinese pairing, third-seeds Wu Jiaxin/Ha Likejiang, silver medallists at the Asian Tour Samila Open, defeated Singaporeans Tay Kingsley/Tan Trevis 2-0 (21-16 21-12) to next challenge Kazakhstan’s Dmitriy Yakovlev/Sergey Bogatu, bronze medallists at the FIVB World Tour 1-star Pak Bara Open in Satun, Thailand in April. The Kazakh pairing earlier tamed Singaporeans Kingsley/Trevis 2-0 (21-11 21-10) on Thursday.
Aside from team-mates Burnett/Guehrer’s triumph, Australians fourth-seeds Cole Durant/Damien Schumann and fifth-seeds Christopher McHugh/Zachery Schubert also captured their first wins on Wednesday, with the former demolishing Chinese Taipei’s Hsu Chen-Wei/Wu Shin-Shian 2-0 (21-14 21-17) and the latter breezing past Hong Kong China’s Wong Pui Lam/Chui Kam Lung 2-0 (21-15 21-9), giving Australia a clean sweep in the men’s event on Day 1.
Earlier, Lam/Chui already suffered their first loss at the hands of Kazakhstan’s Alexandr Dyachenko/Alexey Sidorenko, gold medallists at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, Korea, after going down 19-21 11-21.
Iranians Salemiinjehboroun Bahman/Vakili Arash, silver medallists at the previous Asian meet in Satun, Thailand, spent only 25 minutes in beating Hong Kong China’s Cheung Chek Hong Henry/Yip Chi Shing 2-0 (21-9 21-12).
On Wednesday evening, the Technical Meeting of the Championship was held here, with Technical Delegate Mr Xiang Qian from China presiding. All participating players joined the meeting to hear the rules and regulations of the four-day event. The opening ceremony took place on Thursday, with a large crowd of home fans at the competition venue entertained by fantastic shows.
The top-tier competition, which serves as a final test for qualified Asian players ahead of their tougher task at the 2019 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in Hamburg, Germany from June 28 to July 7, features a total of 25 men’s teams to chase glory in the Asian meet. Hosts China fielded four teams in the men’s event, while Australia, Japan, Hong Kong China had three teams apiece. Iran, Thailand, Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Chinese Taipei sent two teams each, with Qatar and Singapore fielding only one team.
The double-gender Championships continue through Sunday, as Chinese men’s players have their sights firmly set on a top-three podium for the first time in five years. Ha Likejiang/Li Jian picked up bronze medal for hosts China in 2013 when the Asian meet took place in Wuhan. From 2014 to 2018, no Chinese team advanced to the top four in the men’s event.
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