Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games men’s beach volleyball champions Cherif Younousse & Ahmed Tijan (source: volleyball.qa)

Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games men’s beach volleyball champions Cherif Younousse & Ahmed Tijan (source: volleyball.qa)

Just a few days before the start of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in Mexico, Asia’s top teams got a chance to shine at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games in China. Qatar’s Cherif Younousse & Ahmed Tijan triumphed in the men’s competition, China’s Xue Chen & Xia Xinyi celebrated as women’s champions, while three of the four remaining medals also went to teams that are about to compete at Tlaxlala 2023.

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Tokyo 2020 Olympic bronze medallists Cherif & Ahmed, currently number three in the FIVB World Ranking, went through the entire tournament in Ningbo without dropping a single set in six matches played to defend their Asian Games 2018 title. In the gold medal match, the Qatari standouts mastered a 2-0 (22-20, 21-16) victory over China’s Ha Likejiang & Wu Jiaxin, who settled for silver in front of the home crowd.

Interestingly, the two teams will meet again in Mexico on October 8, as they are in the same Pool G, along with Brazil’s Pedro Solberg & Gustavo Carvalhaes (Guto) and Argentina’s Andy Blanco & Luis Garcia.

The Asian Games men’s bronze went to Kazakhstan’s Dmitriy Yakovlev & Sergey Bogatu, who managed a tight 2-0 (25-23, 30-28) win over Iran’s Abbas Pourasgari & Alireza Aghajanighasab.

In the women’s competition, Xue Chen & Xia Xinyi had an even longer run without dropping a set. They produced eight consecutive straight-set wins to claim the title, China’s sixth in a row. The world’s number 12 team mastered an emphatic 2-0 (21-11, 21-13) shutout of the world’s number 21 Miki Ishii and Sayaka Mizoe of Japan in the final to celebrate the third Asian Games gold for each of the two players, but the first for them as a team.

Xue and Xia will compete in Pool I at the World Championship in the company of USA’s Terese Cannon & Megan Kraft, Spain’s Daniela Alvarez & Tania Moreno and Mexico’s Susana Torres & Ivanna Rivera, while Ishii & Mizoe will play in Pool F with Brazil’s Barbara Seixas & Carol Solberg, Germany’s Louisa Lippmann & Laura Ludwig and Nigeria’s Tochukwu Nnoruga & Francisca Ikhiede.

In the bronze medal match, another Chinese pair, Dong Jie & Wang Fan, achieved a 2-0 (21-15, 21-19) shutout of the world’s number 20 team Worapeerachayakorn Kongphopsarutawadee & Taravadee Naraphornrapat of Thailand.

Both of these duos will also compete at the World Championships. Dong & Wang will race with Germany’s Cinja Tillmann & Svenja Muller, Brazil’s Taina Bigi & Victoria Lopes and USA’s Alexandra Klineman & Hailey Harward in Pool K, while the Thai pair will take on Switzerland’s Joana Mader & Anouk Verge-Depre, Mexico’s Atenas Gutierrez & Abril Flores and Mozambique’s Vanessa Muianga & Ana Sinaportar.