Satun, Thailand, April 11, 2018 – Top-seeded Nuttanon Inkiew and Sedtawat Padsawud made it all the way to the top of the podium at the SMM Pak Bara Beach Satun one-star stop on the 2018 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour to the great delight of the home fans in Thailand. For 26-year-old Nuttanon and 22-year-old Sedtawat this was only the fourth participation and their first ever medal on the World Tour.
The silver medals went to second-seeded Ade Rachmawan and Mohammad Ashfiya of Indonesia. For them this was also the fourth event and the first podium finish on the Tour. Fourth-seeded Rahman Raoufi and Abolhamed Mirzaali of Iran celebrated with the bronze. For Raoufi, who turned 40 in the first main draw competition day in Satun, this was the third World Tour medal after the bronze at Agadir 2017 and the silver at Muscat 2018, while his partner Mirzaali climbs the podium for the first time ever.
Satun men's podium
On the way to a 2-0 (21-19, 21-16) victory in the gold medal match against Candra and Ashfiya, the Thai pair recovered from a four-point deficit they had at 5-9 in the first set, tied it at 11-11 and after 14-14 stepped firmly ahead before Nuttanon’s powerful shot that closed the set at 21-19. Inspired by the cheers of the home crowd, Nuttanon and Sedtawat stormed into the second set with a 5-0 lead and never looked back, maintaining the edge through the final 21-16, once again shaped up by an unstoppable hit from Nuttanon for the last point.
The bronze medal match started well for Australia’s Zachery Schubert and Tim Dickson as they broke away with an early 4-1 lead. Raoufi and Mirzaali reacted with seven points in a row, before allowing the Aussies to tie it back at 8-8. It was a tough fight through the end of the set, but the Iranians managed to stay in control and close it off at 21-17. The second set was quite one-sided, with the Iranians dominating throughout on the way to an impressive 21-12 win.
In the semifinals, played earlier on Wednesday, Nuttanon Inkiew and Sedtawat Padsawud recovered from the loss of a tough first set against Schubert and Dickson to come back for a 2-1 (22-24, 21-17, 15-12) win. After that, Candra and Ashfiya emerged victorious from two competitive sets against Raoufi and Mirzaali to fix a precious 2-0 (21-19, 21-18) win.
Next on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour is the double-gender four-star stop in Xiamen, China from April 18 through 22.