Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho del Solar denied Brazil the opportunity of winning gold medals in all three FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour 4-star tournaments at the Cancun Hub as the Australians topped the final podium at Playa Delfines on Sunday.
The bronze medallists of the 2019 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship, the Australians had the slimmest of margins in a hard-fought, three-set battle against Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda ‘Duda’ Lisboa and secured the title with a 2-1 (19-21, 22-20, 16-14) victory.
“It always comes down to our side of the net and our good teamwork,” Clancy, a Rio 2016 Olympian, explained. “We did a great job in coming back, taking a moment and just committing to our game. I’m so proud of Mariafe for the great fight she put up with me at the end.”
The Australians, who finished fifth in the first tournament and ninth in the second, repeated what they did in 2019, when they won the Chetumal Open, played nearly 400 miles south of Cancun, and returned home from Mexico with a gold medal in their bags.
“We love you, Mexico!,” Artacho del Solar celebrated. “We’ll have great memories of these events. We came here with a goal and even though it didn’t go our way in the first two events, we kept strong, stayed focused and here we are. I’m so happy.”
The bronze medal match in Cancun was a rematch of the 2019 World Championship final and marked the 14th meeting between USA’s April Ross and Alix Klineman and Canada’s Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes since 2018.
The Americans extended their winning record against their Canadian rivals to 9-5 with a 2-0 (21-16, 21-15) win that secured them the last spot on the podium.
“We just used a different strategy, we wanted to try something new for this match and it worked, I don’t think they were totally ready for it,” Klineman commented. “These three weeks have been such a grind, the amount of fatigue everyone is feeling is next level. I am really proud of the way we fought through it, we wanted to win so bad, we stuck together and April played amazing.”
Ranked second in the world, Ross and Klineman continued their strong start to the season with their second-straight bronze medal in Cancun following up on their victory at the Katara Cup, in Doha, last month. The positive results a few months before the Olympics have encouraged the Americans.
“We came in knowing that the conditions here could be similar to Tokyo, so we really wanted to fight through it and mentally we never gave up,” Ross added. “We knew we needed to figure it out and I feel like we learned so much while we were here that we can take forward with us and use in Tokyo. The competition was amazing, to play Canada in the bronze medal match was really tough and we’re so glad that we get to go home with two medals, it’s so exciting.”
After Cancun, the World Tour heads to Sofia, Bulgaria, for a double-gender 1-star event from May 20-23.
Cancun Hub - 3rd event
Cancun Hub - 3rd event - Match schedule
Provisional Olympic ranking - Men
Provisional Olympic ranking - Women
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour
Olympic Games Tokyo 2020