World Tour bronzes for England's beach stars
27th August 2019
A special summer for English beach volleyball got even better at the weekend, as England won two FIVB World Tour medals.
After Ellie Austin and Anaya Evans ended England’s 20-year wait for a World Tour medal in June, England’s beach stars added two more World Tour medals at the latest event in Rubavu in Rwanda.
England’s number one women’s pair Jess Grimson and Vicky Palmer added another career highlight by winning a bronze medal against home team Rwanda to gain their maiden World Tour medal.
“What a way to end the season,” said Vicky Palmer on Instagram. “To top it all off, we finally got a World Tour medal. Dreams can come true.”
While it was a bronze for Javier and Joaquin Bello - England's number one men's pair - as they got on the podium at the highest level for the first time too - and recorded the first ever World Tour medal for an England or Great Britain men's team.
“Bronze it is!” said Javier. “Thank you to everyone who helped us achieve our first World Tour medal.”
World Tour double
With seven teams in the competition, Palmer and Grimson blew away Rwanda in the first round to head straight into the semi-finals. Here they lost out to eventual champions the Netherlands in a superb battle. Having won the first set 22-20, they couldn’t get over the line being squeezed out 21-19 and 15-10 in the next two sets.
It didn’t faze the experienced pair as they brushed themselves off to defeat Rwanda’s top pair (21-10, 21-14) in the bronze medal shootout.
In the men’s competition, the Bellos eased through the pool stages in straight sets as they defeated fellow England team Garcia-Kidd and Bialokoz, followed with victory of Japan’s second team.
In the quarter finals, the Bellos overcame an early setback against Cyprus of going a set down. When it came to the crunch, they showed their nerve to win two tights sets to advance (22-20, 18-16).
It was the eventual winners Japan 1 that defeated them in the semi-final but the pair bounced back to in the bronze medal match. The third-place match saw the Bellos face Japan’s second pair and showed their extra quality to take it in straight sets (21-18, 21-15).
England had waited 20 years for a World Tour medal and now it’s been three in one season. It capped a sensational summer for England beach volleyball. A matter of months have seen beach volleyball return to London, success for England’s players in the Continental Cup, World Tour and domestically in the UKBT, and beach volleyball picked to be part of Birmingham 2022.