Damien Schumann and Christopher McHugh sent the 4,000 crowd at Queen Elizabeth Park, Coolangatta into raptures when they won Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games gold on Thursday.
The Australian pair needed three match points to defeat Canada’s Sam Schachter and Sam Pedlow 2-1 (21-19, 18-21, 18-16) and become the first Commonwealth Games beach volleyball champions.
The outcome in the women’s gold medal match was reversed when Canada’s Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan defeated Australia’s Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy 2-0 (21-19, 22-20).
Find full results, statistics, schedules and more on the official Gold Coast 2018 website.
Schumann and McHugh took an early grip on the match by winning the opening set, but the two Sam’s showed their class and fought back to draw level. In the tie-break they opened a two-point lead at 11-9 and then were the first to have match ball.
McHugh and Schumann held on though and after they failed to capitalise on two match balls, a block by McHugh gave them victory.
“(I) Can’t believe that just happened,” Schumann said. “After being behind 9-12 (in the tie-break), we thought we’d just ride it out and see what happened.
“To win a gold medal is absolutely unbelievable. The Canadians are a top 10 side and they are incredible.”
Humana-Paredes and Pavan confirmed why they are currently FIVB Rankings leaders and why they have won four medals since they teamed up at the start of 2017.
The Canadian pair took an early grip on the first set before the Australians fought back. However, Humana-Paredes and Pavan only needed one chance to win the set and duly took it with a Pavan block.
Artacho Solar and Clancy had one set point in the second set, but Pavan kept her and Humana-Paredes in the match, and then when the Canadian pair had their first match point they duly capitalised to win.
Earlier brothers Sam and Ben O’Dea became the first team to win a Commonwealth Games beach volleyball medal of any colour when they won bronze.
The New Zealand pair defeated England’s Chris Gregory and Jake Sheaf 2-0 (21-13, 21-15) and for Sam it vindicated his decision to delay surgery to an injured shoulder so that he could play in the Games.
“The shoulder held up well,” he said. “The adrenaline of being on the court is the best drug for it.
“We played strong in both sets, which is unlike us if you’ve followed our matches so far. We can’t wipe the smiles off our faces.”
Vanuatu’s Linline Matauatu and Miller Pata completed the medal winners after they won women’s bronze with a 2-0 (21-14, 21-10) win over Cyprus’ Mariota Angelopoulou and Manolina Konstantinou.