Maoming, China, May 12, 2019 – Qataris Ahmed Tijan/Cherif Younousse and Taliqua Clancy/Mariafe Artacho Del Solar head to Hamburg next month for the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in Germany buoyed with confidence after their successful title defence at the 2019 Asian Senior Beach Volleyball Championships on Sunday.
Second-seeds and reigning champions Ahmed and Cherif completely smashed Chinese dreams of ending the nine-year men’s title drought in the Asian meet after overpowering Chinese top seeds Gao Peng and Li Yang 2-0 (21-13 21-18) in the highly-anticipated showdown which lasted 33 minutes.
Initially, China had set its sights on landing the men’s title at the Asian Senior Beach Volleyball Championships for the first time in nine years. Wu Penggen/Xu Linyin handed China the last gold medal in the 2010 Asian meet at home in Haikou, but since then no Chinese team captured the men’s title.
The Ahmed/Cherif’s victory in Maoming stretched the Qatar’s invincibility in the Asian meet to two times in a row and it also sent an ominous sign to the Asian beach volleyball that the promising duo prove to be the strongest rivals to beat in any Asian competition in a few more years to come.
Eighth at the World Tour ranking, Ahmed/Cherif, who did not lose a set to their respective rivals in the Asian meet in Maoming, captured the gold medal at the last year’s Asian Games in Indonesia apart from taking bronze at the last month’s FIVB World Tour 4-star in Xiamen, China and finishing fifth place at home in the FIVB World Tour 4-star in Doha in March.
Gao and Li also performed well in their career, winning back-to-back Asian Tour Samila Open in Songkhla, Thailand (2018 and 2019) and claimed gold medal at the 2018 FIVB World Tour 2-star in Singapore aside from the 9th place at the World Tour 4-star in Xiamen, China last month.
Gao/Li and Ahmed/Cherif will take part in the 2019 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships between June 28 to July 7 in Hamburg, Germany and both sides are expected to make a positive impact among the world’s best.
In the third-place playoff, Chinese third seeds Wu Jiaxin/Ha Likejiang restored their pride after beating Aussies Cole Durant/Damien Schumann 2-0 (21-19 21-16) to pick up bronze.
Home fans had experienced repeated failure and disappointment when top seeds Wang Fan and Xia Xinyi found title-holders Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho Del Solar from Australia an impossible nut to crack. The Chinese duo went down in hard-fought two-set thriller 15-21 30-32 in the women’s final clash.
Crowd favourites Wang and Xia stayed unbeaten without losing a set in the tournament until they suffered a bitter defeat at the hands of second-seeds Clancy and Artacho Del Solar on Sunday.
Wan and Xia captured gold medal at the last year’s Asian Games in Indonesia aside from winning the title at the last month’s Asian Tour Samila Open in Songkhla. Wang alone had already finished second for two times in succession in the Asian meet.
Wang partnered Yue Yuan to pick up silver in the 2017 edition in Songkhla after going down to Australians Louise Bawden and Taliqua Clancy in the final clash. In the following year, Wang teamed up with Xue Chen to return with the similar medal after suffering another defeat to Australians Taliqua Clancy/Mariafe Artacho Del Solar in the showdown in Satun, Thailand.
Wang/Xia’s loss in the Sunday’s final had given Australia three times in a row in the Asian Senior Beach Volleyball Championships, with Clancy winning them all and Artacho Del Solar two in a row.
The Maoming victory also gave Clancy/Artacho Del Solar another success in their promising career. The Australian duo won their career’s debut at the 2017 Grand Front Osaka Open in October in Japan. Six days later, they won the FIVB World Tour 3-star in Qinzhou, China and followed up that great achievement by winning the Asian Tour Palembang Open in Indonesia and the FIVB World Tour 2-star in Sydney. In 2018, the Australian duo were in brilliant form to win the FIVB World Tour 3-star in Lucerne Open as well as the World Tour 4-star Espinho Open and silver medal at the Commonwealth Games at home in Gold Coast.
Wang Chen/Xia Xinyi and Taliqua Clancy/Mariafe Artacho Del Solar have qualified for the next month’s FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in Hamburg, Germany and have been regarded as the Asia’s strongest rivals to be reckoned with among the world’s best.
In the third-place playoff earlier, Australians Phoebe Bell/Jessyka Ngauamo outclassed Vanuatu’s Sherysyn Toko/Miller Pata 2-0 (21-15 21-12) to claim bronze medal.
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