Cancun- It took them three attempts, but Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan will leave the Cancun Hub with gold medals around their necks. Silver medalists in the first two FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour 4-star events at the Playa Delfines, the Qataris climbed another step on the podium on Sunday as they won the third and final tournament in Mexico.
After losing back-to-back finals to Norway’s Anders Mol and Christian Sorum, the 25-year-old Cherif and the 26-year-old Ahmed remained strong and secured the title of the final tournament in Mexican sand with a 2-0 (21-15, 21-12) win against Russians Konstantin Semenov and Ilya Leshukov.
“It’s great that we finally managed to reach our goal, but we weren’t rushing anything”, Cherif commented. “We trust the process and we know it’s a long-term process. We just remained patient and tried to play better than the tournaments before, we weren’t even thinking about the gold, but we are really thankful that we won it. We are physically and mentally exhausted now, but we kept our focus as strong as we could and that made the difference.”
It was the first victory for the Qataris together in a 4-star event and just their second as a team, following their triumph in a 1-star tournament in their home sand Doha in February. Cherif and Ahmed have won more medals than any other men’s team in 2021, with two golds and two silvers in five tournaments.
“It’s a historical moment for us,” said Cherif, who was very emotional after the final point. “It’s the first gold for us on a four-star event and it feels amazing. To make it to three finals in three weeks and to get the gold at the end, it’s unbelievable. We just kept fighting, that's what we did."
American veterans Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena won their first World Tour medal since March 2019 as they finished third in Cancun after defeating Italians Adrian Carambula and Enrico Rossi 2-0 (21-19, 21-15) in the bronze medal match.