Phuket, Thailand, November 23, 2014 – Indonesia successfully retained their men’s title after producing a magnificent come-from-behind victory over Iran, while Varapatsorn Radarong and Tanarattha Udomchavee lost their crown on home soil to Kazakhstan in the 4th Asian Beach Games at Karon Beach on Sunday.
Title-holders Varapatsorn and Tanarattha, who took silver at the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea and bronze medal at the recent Pattaya Challenge in Thailand, failed to make their mark in a crucial match which decided if they could make it two in a row in the top-flight continental competition.
Before a large crowd of home spectators at the competition venue, Varapatsorn and Tanaratta started nervously with unforced attacking mistakes and poor services, while the strongly-built Tatyana Mashkova and Irina Tsimbalova of Kazakhstan played with more confidence and courage. The Thai duo went down in the comfortable first set 13-21.
Conceding one set, Thailand played with consistency and guts in the second set, while the Kazakhs stormed on their fine form. Mashkova attacked aggressively and Tsimbalova covered the court well to keep the ball rolling. However, the Thai team gradually pulled their game together and hit back with attacks and deceptive drops to close the margin at 20-20. At the final assault, Kazakhstan fared better, allowing the host players only one more point to capture the set 23-21 and the championship.
“We did not play well. I feel very exhausted and became very slow while attempting to dig spikes. I think my form did not live up to any expectation,” said Varapatsorn after losing the final match.
“I would like to say sorry to all Thai fans that we could not keep the crown at home. We will try to come back in the next tournaments,” she added.
The third-place playoff earlier saw Indonesians Putu Dini Jasita Utama and Dhita Juliana stun Thailand’s Yupa Phokongploy and Usa Tenpaksee 21-17 21-15 to take home the bronze medal.
Top three in the men’s competition pose in a group photo
In the more thrilling men’s competition, reigning champions Ade Candra Rachmawan and Koko Prasetyo Darkuncoro, who has competed the Asian Beach Games since the inaugural edition on home soil in Bali, Indonesia in 2008, came back from the close first-set down 20-22 to Saber Hoshmand and Bahman Salemiinjehboroun to power past the formidable Iranians 21-14 15-10 to successfully defend their title.
The bronze medal went to Qataris Mahmoud Assam and Jefferson Santos Pereira, who pulled off a surprise 22-20 21-18 win over Kazakhstan’s Dmitriy Yakovlev and Alexey Kuleshov, silver medallsts at the previous edition in Haiyang, China two years ago.
The awards presentation and the closing ceremony took place shortly after the end of the last match on Sunday, with AVC’s Executive Director Liu Jun and Somporn Chaibangyang, president of the Thailand Volleyball Association, jointly presiding.