U.S. beach pairs won two medals this week at the Beach Pro Tour Dubai Challenge No. 1, including the first gold medal in a top-tier FIVB event since 2019.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Nov. 29, 2022) – The reunited U.S. women’s beach team of Kelly Cheng/Sara Hughes got its 2024 Olympic run off to a good start by winning gold at the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour challenge event in Torquay, Australia.
In the final, Cheng/Hughes, the tournament’s top-seeded team, beat Lvwen Yuan/Jie Dong of China 2-0 (21-11, 21-16).
“I think the chemistry is just there between us,” Hughes told Volleyball World. “We’ve been working really hard this past month since we got back together, and we just showed it right there. It was so much fun and I’m so happy to be bringing home the gold with Kelly.
“I think we have a high ceiling, so we are going to keep improving every single day, every single tournament. We’re really happy with this win, but we have the Elite16 next week, so we have to refocus, go out there, play our best and bring home another gold.”
“We are a force to be reckoned with. We wanted to come out here and make a statement and I think we did that,” Cheng added.
Cheng/Hughes competed as a team at USC, helping the Trojans win national titles in 2016 and ’17. They went on to compete together on the AVP and FIVB tours before splitting in 2018.
The U.S. women’s team of Megan Kraft/Emily Stockman finished fourth in Torquay. The pair beat China’s Jinjin Zeng/Xinxin Wang in the quarterfinals 2-0 (21-17, 21-12). They fell to Cheng/Hughes in the semifinals 2-0 (21-14, 21-15).
In the third-place match, they fell to China’s Xinyi Xia/MeiMei Lin, 2-1 (19-21, 21-14, 15-9).
The U.S. men’s team of Tim Brewster/Kyle Friend made its international debut in Torquay and came through qualifying to finish tied for 17th.
Torquay Elite 16
Four U.S. women’s beach teams and one men’s team are competing this week in the World Beach Pro Tour elite 16 event in Torquay.
Joining Cheng/Hughes and Kraft/Stockman will be Taryn Kloth/Kristen Nuss and Betsi Flint/Julia Scoles. On the men’s side, Olympic indoor player Paul Lotman is pairing with Miles Evans.
Follow the competition on the Volleyball World website.