Spain continued their gold rush as their beach tennis pair of Antonio Ramos and Gerard Rodriguez won the men's doubles title at the ANOC Beach Games Tuesday, while Qatar’s 4x4 volleyball team reached the final after defeating Poland in the semis.
With just a day of the competition remaining, Spain top the table with eight medals, with six of them in gold and two in bronze. Their other gold medal on the penultimate day came in the aquathlon mixed team relay, with Francisca Tous and Kevin Vinuela collecting their second gold after they had won their respective individual events a day earlier.
The men’s beach tennis doubles final was a close affair at the Katara Beach, with Ramos and Rodriquez edging past Brazil’s Andre Baran and Vinicius Font 7-6, 7-5. The women’s doubles title was won by Italy’s Flaminia Daina and Nicole Nobile, with Brazil again ending up on the losing side as Joana Cortez and Rafaella Miiiler went down 6-7, 7-6, 13-11.
In the beach wrestling, Georgia’s Davit Khutsishvili beat Azerbaijan’s Ibrahim Yusubov 5-1 in the final to win the men’s 80kg gold. Ukraine’s Vasyl Mykhailov took bronze. Pouya Rahmani of Iran secured gold in the over 90kg event, after of a 3-0 win over Turkey’s Ufuk Yilmaz. Georgia’s Mamuka Kordzaia settled for bronze.
Aquathlon mixed relay gold winners Kevin Vinuela and Francisca Tous. They had won the individual medals also on Monday
Sakura Yosozumi who won the gold medal in Skateboarding at the Aspire Park
Nigeria’s Blessing Onyebuchi won the women’s over 70kg gold. In a close bout, she held her nerves to beat Zsanett Nemeth of Hungary 3-2. Ukraine’s Iryna Pasichnyk bagged the bronze.
Meanwhile, Francesca Indelicato gave Italy their fourth gold in the Games with a victory in the 60kg category. She was awarded the victory after the contest with Turkey’s Mehlika Ozturk ended scoreless. United States’ Shauna Kemp won bronze.
Meanwhile, American Daniela Moroz stormed to victory in the women’s Kitefoil Racing. The four-time and defending Formula Kite world champion dominated all three days of competition at the Katara Beach.
She had won five of seven opening series races earlier in the week to enter the final as the highest qualifier. This meant she only needed to win one race to grab the gold, which she did in style, leading from the outset to romp to victory over second-placed Julia Damasiewicz of Poland.
“I knew I wanted to go right next to the boat, so I did that really well, and then we had a really big [wind] shift just before the start, so I think I read into that really well and played it off well,” Moroz said after her win.
“I’ve won pretty much every title I can get this year which was my goal for the year so I’m really happy with that and it feels awesome. It’s been a really good year, probably the best of my career so far.”
The men's skateboard park gold was clinched by United States’ Heimana Reynolds, with Puerto Rico’s Steven Pineiro taking silver, while Italy’s Alessandro Mazzara settled for bronze.
Meanwhile, the organisers of the inaugural World Beach Games that kicked off this week have heaped praise on Qatar for stepping in to host the event at short notice after San Diego pulled out.
More than 1,200 athletes competing in sports from beach volleyball to skateboarding have descended on the tiny peninsula emirate for the event, which organisers hope will raise the profile of smaller sports.
"It's a great choice because Qatar is used to organising big sports competitions," said Gunilla Lindberg, secretary general of the Association of National Olympic Committees.
"I'm absolutely sure (Qatar) was the right choice."
ANOC was left to scout out alternatives to San Diego when the California coastal city pulled out in May after four years of planning, citing financial constraints.
While several other cities put in a bid to host, Doha won out because of its experience staging major events and ready-made infrastructure, Lindberg said.
The World Beach Games were created by the world's Olympic committees and announced in 2015, with 97 countries sending competitors to the Doha event that started Friday and ends today.
A beach tennis qualifier between Chile and Portugal on Saturday saw the temporary sea-view stands filled by contingents from each country, alongside hundreds of curious expat workers.
"It's a new event, so the stands are not so big -- but we have opened up for everyone to come," said Lindberg.
Qatar has invested heavily in infrastructure for big-ticket events like the 2022 World Cup and the World Athletics Championships.
French three-on-three basketball coach Yann Julien praised Qatar for preparing the games in "record time".
"It's really well organised," he said, applauding the transportation and provision of air conditioned tents for athletes to cool down in.
The beach games' first edition was due to take place in San Diego October 10-15.
Reports said organisers were struggling to raise funds to put on the event.
Qatar has "done a good job with the transportation and the setup of the venues," said Lindberg, adding that organisers had just six days to shift from the athletics championships to the beach games.