Agatha/Rebecca claim first gold as a duo in Chiang Mai

20.11.2023 - Chiang Mai, Thailand

Just one week after the U21 Beach Volleyball World Championships in Roi Et, Thailand kept the beach fever alive at Chaloem Prakiat Park in the Northern city Chiang Mai. This tournament marked the highest-level beach volleyball event organized by Thailand thus far and witnessed some duos stepping onto the Beach Pro Tour podium for the first time as partners.

The women's gold was secured by none other than the Brazilian beach volleyball legend Agatha Bednarczuk, a 2015 world champion and a 2016 Olympic silver medalist, along with her teammate Rebecca Cavalcanti, a 2020 Olympian. While neither players are strangers to the podium, this marks their first gold medal as a duo and their second podium appearance since winning bronze in Espinho. The two didn’t drop a single set in the entire tournament and won with a swift 2:0 (21-17, 21-16) against Ahtiainen/Lahti. The Finnish opponents had ended every match leading up to the finals in a tie-breaker. Though they lost their first match in the pool play against Japanese duo Akiko/Ishii, they remained strong until the final match, when they were defeated by the Brazilians. Coincidentally, both teams had recently finished fifth in Goa, though they never faced one another during the tournament.

The bronze medal was claimed by the Canadians Sarah Pavan, a 2019 world champion and two-time Olympian, and her partner Molly McBain. This marks the duo's first medal on the Beach Pro Tour since their debut earlier this year in Jurmala. In the bronze medal match, they shut out the Chinese Wang/Dong, the only Asian team to make the top 5 in either competition. Having already defeated them in straight sets (21-19, 21-14) during the pool play, they triumphed once more in a three-set match (15-21, 21-16, 15-9) to earn their well-deserved spot on the podium.

In the men’s competition, the gold medal went to Dutch duo Immers/Van de Velde, who just a few weeks ago took ninth place at the World Championships in Mexico. They only played a single tie-breaker in the whole tournament, beating Canadians Schachter/Dearing (16-21, 21-18, 15-7), but remained otherwise undefeated. In the final match they stood against the Polish Piotr Kantor, a two-time Olympian, and his partner Jakub Zdybek, whom they easily defeated in straight sets (21-16, 21-13). The bronze medal went to Americans Evans/Budinger, who shut out the Australian duo Nicolaidis/Carracher. They had just beat them earlier this month in Haikou, where they claimed the gold medal, and won both times in a tie-breaker.

An honorable fifth place went to Austrian duo Hörl/Horst. In pool play, they won their first match against Plavins/Fokerots (24-22, 20-22, 15-13) and lost the second match to Italians Lupo/Rossi (16-21, 13-21). They advanced by defeating the Spanish beach stars Herrera/Gavira in the Round of 16 (21-17, 21-19), whom they had already beaten at the EuroBeachVolley in Vienna back in August. However, in the quarterfinals, they ultimately had to concede defeat to Evans/Budinger (15-21, 21-19, 15-10).