Quang Ninh, Vietnam, May 15, 2022 – Thailand’s Taravadee Naraphornrapat/Worapeerachayakorn Kongphopsarutawadee lived up to their top billing as the Asian champions powered past the 2018 Asian Games bronze medallists Dhita Juliana/Putu Utami in their main draw first clash of the 31st SEA Games Beach Volleyball Tournament at Tuan Chau Beach here on Sunday.
Taravadee/Worapeerachayakorn, who landed the Asian title on home soil in Phuket last year, performed brilliantly in their very first match in the Vietnam-hosted SEA Games, spending only 34 minutes in demolishing the tough Indonesians 21-18, 21-11 to next take on Vietnamese Nguyen Vu Ngoc Lan/Nguyen Le Thi Tuong Vy on Monday.
Another Thai pairing, Varapatsorn Radarong/Tanarattha Udomchavee, who picked up silver medal at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games in Korea, also got their SEA Games campaign off to a victorious start with a comfortable 21-11, 21-16 win against Indonesians Nur Sari/Sari Hartati. The impressive duo will next go up against Vietnamese Truong Duong Thai My Huyen/Nguyen Thi Thanh Tram on Monday.
Philippines and Vietnam also enjoyed their first-day wins on Sunday, with both pairings of the Philippines and the host sides respectively brushing off Singaporean and Malaysian rivals in easy encounters.
Filipinas Cherry Ann Rondina/Bernadeth Pons saw off Singaporeans Alicia Tan Kai Yun/Soh Cecilia Hui Chin 21-14, 21-9 in 29 minutes, with another Philippine duo, Jovelyn Gonzaga/Floremel Rodriguez, claiming a totally one-sided 21-12, 21-8 win against Chong Eliza/Ong Weiyu.
Vietnam also made their mark with two wins on the first day. Nguyen Vu Ngoc Lan/Nguyen Le Thi Tuong Vy downed Malaysians Aina Ahmad Nizar Farwizah/Jia Yin Beh Maegan 21-9, 21-18, while Truong Duong Thai My Huyen/Nguyen Thi Thanh Tram overcame Foo Sin Xi/Yee Sin Sing 21-13, 21-15.
Meanwhile, Vietnam, Philippines and Thailand hogged their limelight in the men’s first-day competition. Thailand’s Surin Jongklang/Banlue Nakprakhong, silver medallists at the previous Philippines-hosted SEA Games in 2019, made a clean sweep of both matches contested on Sunday including a fantastic comeback 2-1 (18-21, 21-11, 15-7) win against Malaysians Khairol Shazrime Bin Shamsaimon/Sim Jian Qin.
However, the Thai men’s team had mixed fortunes on Sunday when Pithak Tipjan/Poravid Taovalo were narrowly edged by the same Malaysian duo 18-21, 9-21, 19-21.
Vietnam had a see-saw battle against Cambodia. Nhat Ton Long/Nguyen Van Nha faced a stiff challenge from Cambodians Chuk Sophea/Thy Menghuong before going down in close battle 24-22, 21-19, but Cambodians Oem Narit/Som Samith succumbed to their 19-21, 25-27 defeat in a closely contested match against Vietnam’s Nguyen Lam Toi/Trang Quang Vu.
The 31st SEA Games Beach Volleyball Tournament is being held between May 15 and 20, featuring 8 countries (Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Laos, Malaysia and Cambodia) separated into 2 pools with round robin format in the men’s event.
Each country has 2 pairs of players playing in a best of 3 set match. The top two of group will play in the semifinal round. The winners of the semifinal round will contest the gold medal match and the losers battle it out for bronze medal.
Six countries, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia, strut their stuff in the single round robin in the women’s competition. The top two countries will next fight it out for gold medal, while the next two (third- and fourth-ranked sides) will compete in the third-place playoff.
At the previous edition in Philippines in 2019, Indonesia reigned supremacy in the men’s event, with Thailand saved their pride to stamp their authority in the women’s competition.
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