Commonwealth Games gold medallist Chris McHugh and new teammate Paul Burnett have ended an impressive week of competition at the Asian Senior Beach Volleyball Championships in Phuket with a gold medal.
It was a test of chemistry for Gold Coast 2018 gold medallist Chris McHugh and his new partner Paul Burnett, who joined McHugh after the retirement of his gold medal winning partner Damien Schumann earlier this year, a test the pair passed with impressive colours.
The new duo was dominant during the competition going undefeated through the pool matches, continuing their streak through the round of 16 and quarterfinals, working up to the new duos most formidable performance, upsetting the Olympic bronze medallists Qatar in the semi-finals, earning the Aussies a spot in the gold medal match.
Coming up against Iran in the final, the Aussies were out to impress and got an early run in the first set, winning 21-16, before taking a convincing lead in the second to clinch the straight sets win 21-16, 21-13.
McHugh was proud of the team’s performance and enjoyed being back on the international sands.
“This is such a fantastic result for the team, with Paul winning his first Senior Asian Championships and my fifth,” McHugh told Volleyball Australia.
“Paul played amazingly this week and really stepped up in the finals to be a dominant force on the court.
“The Asian Championships has been a great building block for our team moving forwards into the 2022 summer season.
“We look forward to playing at home in the near future!”
McHugh and Burnett will now turn their attention to the upcoming Australian Beach Volleyball Tour (ABVT) which is set to return in 2022, bringing together Australia’s best beach volleyball players on Australia’s best beaches.
The ABVT will highlight what is set to be Australia’s biggest summer of beach volleyball, with 89 events scheduled on the state and national calendar and providing the perfect lead into the upcoming Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
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The ABVT will feature Gold Coast 2018 and Tokyo 2020 Olympic silver medallists Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho del Solar, who will take to Australian beaches for the first time since the Tokyo Games.
But the silver medallists might find competition from new women’s pair Phoebe Bell and Georgia Johnson.
Bell and Johnson defeated New Zealand pair Shaunna Polley and Alice Zeimann to win the bronze medal in Phuket in their debut tournament.
After the impressive result, the duo will now be targeting a solid Australian summer with eyes on the Birmingham Games.
“I’m really proud of our team for getting on the podium for this tournament,” Bell said.
“We were challenged emotionally and physically all tournament by the stresses of competition and added element of the Thailand heat.
“We channelled our energy into focusing on what we could control – our side of the net; one game at a time; one point at a time. And we got rewarded with a bronze medal.”
The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will take place from 28 July to 8 August, with the Beach Volleyball tournament to take place at Smithfield in downtown Birmingham from Saturday 30 July through Sunday 7 August.
To be in the stands in Birmingham supporting the Australian Beach Volleyball stars and the rest of the Australian team, for the first time Australian families and fans will be able to access group tickets for all events at the Commonwealth Games.
The Family & Fans Tour ensures Australian families and fans can sit and cheer together, stay together and play together at the Birmingham Games.
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With thanks Volleyball Australia.