Bawden and Clancy win Asian Beach Volleyball title

Olympians Louise Bawden and Taliqua Clancy have won the Asian Beach Volleyball Championships in Thailand at just their second event together this year.

The Australians proved too strong for China’s Wang Fan and Yue Yuan at Samila Beach, Thailand, winning the final 21-19, 21-17.

One week earlier Bawden and Clancy, in their first tournament together for 2017, lost the Pak Bara master final, also in Thailand, to the same Chinese team.

24-year-old Clancy was forced to sit out the start of 2017 with injury, leaving Bawden, a three-time Olympian, to partner with fellow Olympians Nicole Laird and Mariafe Artacho del Solar for the Australian tour.

“Last week’s loss gave us huge motivation to keep winning and fight them again this time,” Bawden said.

“I think we did a very good job today. We wanted to fight although we learned well that the Chinese are very strong.

“We lost to them last week, so, we had to bring our best to take the title back. It was great that we finished on top of the podium this time.”

Fellow Australians Laird and Phoebe Bell finished with the bronze, while in the men’s competition Australia’s Chris McHugh and Damien Schumann took the bronze.

The gold went to Iran’s Rahman Raoufi and Bahman Salemiinjehboroun.

Bawden and Clancy finished fifth at last year’s Rio Olympics, and have set their sights on qualifying for next year’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, which will see be the debut of beach volleyball at the multi-sport competition.

The pair will return to Rio next month to compete in an FIVB World Tour event.