Sydney, Australia, November 25, 2017 – Canada’s Ben Saxton and Grant O'Gorman climbed all the way to the top of the men’s podium at the Sydney two-star event on the 2018 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. For each of them, this was a historic first gold medal on the Tour. Until today the 2016 Olympian Saxton had won one silver and four bronze medals, while O’Gorman had been decorated with FIVB medals only at the Age Category World Championship level.
France’s Youssef Krou and Quincy Aye and USA’s William Kolinske and Miles Evans completed the podium on Manly Beach, leaving top seeds and home favourites Christopher McHugh and Damien Schumann in fourth place.
The gold medal match was the only straight-setter of the day. Saxton and O'Gorman completely dominated the first set, cruising to a crushing 21-8 win. Youssef Krou and Quincy Aye stayed in contention through 6-6 in the second set, but four points in a row for the Canadians pushed them forward to a 10-6 advantage – a blow the Frenchmen could never completely recover from. On second match point, Youssef Krou’s sky ball serve went wide to fix the final 2-0 (21-8, 21-16) in favour of Ben Saxton and Grant O'Gorman. Krou and Aye’s silver is their third World Tour medal as a team, after one gold and one bronze from earlier in 2017.
“My sister won gold in Sydney earlier in the year, so I had to make sure she wouldn’t be the only one,” Ben Saxton said after the final. “I love the crowd here. There are so many nice people and the beach is amazing, so it’s awesome to be here.”
“I am sort of speechless,” Grant O’Gorman added. “Sydney was an amazing place to win my first tournament. I am just so happy playing with Ben, such a skilled player!”
William Kolinske and Miles Evans snatched the bronze after a 2-1 (21-16, 13-21, 15-11) rollercoaster duel with Christopher McHugh and Damien Schumann. The first set was quite competitive through 15-15, but then the Americans broke away to win it with a 6-1 run. In the second set, the Australians ran off to open a wide gap after 7-7 and then cruised to a landslide final score and tied the game. The home guys gained an early 3-1 lead in the third set. After that, Kolinske and Evans took control and never looked back. A block-out off of Miles Evans’s spike put an end to the tie-breaker at 15-11. After claiming silver in Aalsmeer this past October, now the American tandem enjoy their second medal on the World Tour.
For Kolinske and Evans this was the second three-set battle of the day. Earlier, in the semifinals, they won the first set against Saxton and O’Gorman, but lost the next two. After 53 minutes of play, the Canadians won the longest match of the day with a final score of 2-1 (18-21, 21-19, 16-9).
In the first semifinal, Krou and Aye also had to fight back from a set down against McHugh and Schumann. Despite the support the two Australians got from the home crowd in Sydney, the French pair persevered for a 2-1 (14-21, 21-14, 15-11) victory.
The men's podium on Manly Beach