Bandar Torkaman, Iran, October 4, 2019 - Nuttanon Inkiew and Sedtawat Padsawud captured their second FIVB World Tour gold medal and third overall for Thailand as the southeast Asian pair topped the Bandar Torkaman podium here Sunday.
Seeded third in the competition behind two teams from the host country, Inkiew and Padsawud split the first two sets (17-21, 21-17) in the 55-minute title match with Alireza Aghajani and Javad Firouzpourbandpei before winning the US$1,000 first-place prize due to an injury to the Iranian pair in the deciding set with the Thai team leading 14-12.
Inkiew and Sedtawat's first FIVB World Tour gold medal was claimed April 11, 2018 on home sand in Satun. Thailand's other men's gold medal was captured this year on May 26 in Boracay, Philippines by Narongdet Kangkon/Banlue Nakprakhong.
To reach the gold medal match, Aghajani and Firouzpourbandpei upset top-seeded compatriots and defending Bandar Torkaman champions Bahman Salemi/Arash Vakili 2-1 (21-18, 14-21, 16-14) in a 58-minute semi-final match. Inkiew and Padsawud advanced to the finals with a 2-0 (21-17, 21-19) victory in 39 minutes over fourth-seeded Hitoshi Murakami/Takashi Tsuchiya of Japan.
Bahman Salemi (left) blocks against Iran rival Javad Firouzpourbandpei in a Bandar Torkaman semi-final match Friday morning.
In the bronze medal match, Salemi and Vakili rebounded with a 2-0 (21-17, 21-16) win in 39 minutes over Murakami and Tsuchiya. It was the second FIVB World Tour meeting between the two teams as the Japanese pair defeated Salemi and Vakili seven months ago in India as Murakami and Tsuchiya prevailed 2-0 (22-20, 26-24) on March 2 in a Visakhapatnam pool play match.
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The Bandar Torkaman event marks the first tournament on the 2019-2020 World Tour calendar as the FIVB begins its 34th season of sanctioning international beach volleyball events.
Three of the last four 2019 events will be double-gender competitions in China (Qinzhou, October 30-November 3), Israel (Tel Aviv, November 6-9) and Mexico (Chetumal, November 13-17). A men's only event is set for Qatar November 12-15 at Doha.
The complete 2019-2020 FIVB World Tour schedule is still being finalized as the 2020 portion of the calendar will be highlighted by qualifying events for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games through mid-June. The Summer Games are scheduled for July 25 through August 8 in Tokyo.