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Andre and George celebrate after they score the game-winning point

Playing international tournaments in Brazil has been a source of great success for Andre Loyola and George Wanderley lately, and that continued to be the case at this week’s Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Elite16 event in Uberlandia.

Playing at Praia Clube, they overcame compatriots and qualifiers Pedro Solberg and Arthur Lanci in a thrilling three-set (28-30, 21-15, 15-11) battle to claim gold in front of their home fans for a third-straight time. Norway’s Anders Mol and Christian Sørum were the third duo to take a place on the podium in Uberlandia.

· All matches of the Beach Pro Tour Elite16 event in Uberlandia are available on Volleyball TV.

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George dives for a dig during the all-Brazilian gold medal match

With the victory, Andre and George have now won the three last international events held in Brazil. Their winning run at home started one year ago, when they were victorious at an FIVB World Tour tournament in Itapema and continued last April at a Beach Pro Tour Challenge event in the same city.

“Every international title I won in my career, except for the 2017 World Championship, was in Brazil,” Andre reflected. “I really like to play in front of the Brazilians fans. Playing at home has been really positive for me and I have a lot of fun every time I get to do it. I hope it continues this way. It’s our first victory at an Elite16 tournament and we’re really happy.”

The triumph also ends a series of back-to-back disappointing results for the Brazilians, who were 25th and 13th in the last Elite16 events they played, in Gstaad and Hamburg. It also marks the fourth medal won by the two players in 2022 – besides their victory in Itapema, they also took bronze at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships and the Jurmala Elite16.

“We won a South American Tour event here at Praia Clube earlier this year and it’s great to get to do it again, now on the Beach Pro Tour,” George remarked. “The facility really is out of this world and we felt the support of the fans every single day. It was a really nice event.”

The opening set of the gold medal saw the two teams evenly matched as, outside from a moment in which Arthur scored in transition for 13-11, the duos remained within a single point of each other the entire time. In the end, a 50-50 ball won by Pedro at the net was the difference as Arthur and partner won in overtime 30-28.

Pedro Solberg/Arthur vs. George/Andre - Match Highlights

Set two started differently as an ace from George pushed he and Andre to quickly build a 3-1 lead. A block from Pedro, however, erased the advantage and tied the set at four points. Andre and George slipped away again at 7-5 and took full control of the set, remaining ahead until the end, when George sided out to score 21-15.

With Pedro struggling physically, Andre and George targeted him with their serves and managed to jump ahead 5-1. Pedro and Arthur improved during the set and even got a tie at eight points, but the World Championship bronze medallists pulled through at the end and won 15-11 with a block from Andre.

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Mol and Sørum join the Brazilian finalists on the podium

Reigning Olympic and world champions Mol and Sørum also made it to the podium, in third place, after they topped Brazilians Vitor Felipe and Renato Lima 2-1 (21-19, 19-21, 15-10) in a rematch of the final of the 2022 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships.

The Norwegians, who won last week’s Elite16 tournament in Cape Town, now have six medals for the season (four golds, two bronzes) and were particularly happy about how well their bodies handled the physical demands of the last two weeks of intense competition.

“We started the season with some injuries and had some problems earlier,” Sørum commented. “So now to play tournaments on different continents in consecutive weeks until the last day, and to make it to the podium at both, it’s amazing. It’s always nice to play here in Brazil and I’m glad we made it to the podium again.”

Renato/Vitor Felipe vs. Mol, A./Sorum, C. - Match Highlights

The ninth and last Elite16 event of 2022 will be played in Torquay, Australia, from November 29-December 3. The week before, a Challenge tournament will also take place in the Australian city.