COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (August 14, 2022) – U.S. Beach National Team athletes Betsi Flint/Kelly Cheng won their first international title together Sunday as they claimed gold at the Beach Pro Tour’s Hamburg Elite 16 in Hamburg, Germany.

The first-year duo won gold via a 2-0 (21-19, 21-18) win over Switzerland’s Nina Brunner/Tanja Huberli.

“It’s great for our team to have our first international win because that’s the main focus,” Flint told after the gold medal match. “It’s fun to celebrate, but we have a ton of work to do going forward.”

“It’s also very nice to see all of our hard work pay off,” Cheng added, also to “When all the pieces start coming together, it gets really exciting.”

Sunday’s gold medal match was also exciting as the American pair came back from late deficits in both sets. In the first, Flint/Cheng trailed were down 16-18. Cheng brought them within one on a kill, then tied the match with a block on Brunner. After making a big dig on a Swiss attack, Flint landed a kill for the lead. Flint followed up with an ace for set point at 20-18. That set clincher came two plays later on a Switzerland service error.

In the second, Flint/Cheng led early, but Brunner/Huberli rallied for a late 15-17 advantage. Flint landed a kill, then Brunner hit the net during a joust to tie the score. Claes landed a cross-court pokie for the lead, and two Swiss attacks went long, giving the U.S. three match points. Switzerland turned aside one, but Flint clinched the match with the kill.

The win capped a tournament in which Flint/Cheng lost just one set, a 20-22 frame in pool play. In the playoffs, they swept Spain’s Daniela Alvarez/Tania Moreno in the quarterfinal and eventual bronze medalists Karla Borger/Julia Sude of Germany in the semifinals.

Flint/Cheng have one other win as partners, a domestic title at AVP’s New Orleans Open in May. Both also have previous FIVB wins – Cheng two, Flint four – albeit with different partners.

The U.S. now has seven Beach Pro Tour gold medals this season, but this is the first American medal of any color at an Elite 16 event. Elite 16s are the highest-tiered tournament on the global tour.

Two other U.S. pairs competed over the weekend. Zana Muno/Lauren Fendrick played in the Hamburg qualifier, losing their first-round match. Melissa Fuchs Powell/Tiffany Creamer also lost their qualifier match at the Cortegaca (Portugal) Futures.

Flint, Cheng and much of the rest of the U.S. Beach National Team will be back in action this weekend for the Manhattan Beach Open, the oldest and most iconic event on AVP’s schedule. That tournament runs August 19-21 in Manhattan Beach, California.