Pic by Owen Hammond/APAC Sport Media
Canada’s Julie Gordon and Camille Saxton have made it a winning World Tour double in Australia after on Sunday adding the Manly Beach gold to the title they won in Shepparton earlier this month.
Gordon and Saxton, who did not drop a set in Shepparton, lost only one set at Manly as they steamrolled their way through a quality field to win gold in front of a capacity crowd at Sydney’s iconic beach.
Host nation Australia took the minor medals, with Rio 2016 Olympian Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Queensland’s Jessyka Ngauamo winning silver, and triple Olympian Louise Grice and another 2016 Olympian, Nikki Laird, taking the bronze.
Gordon and Saxton were unstoppable in the final, cruising through the opening set 21-14, and then fighting back from 1-6 down to take the second 21-16 against Artacho del Solar and Ngauamo.
Any chance of an Australian comeback in the second set was snuffed out when the Canadians went from 11-14 down to lead 16-14.
“I think today, we were down 6-1 in that second set and Camille completely took over the game,” Gordon said.
“For me that is totally amazing, to know that I can completely rely on my partner when I’m struggling.
“I’m just super proud of her, and of us, for coming back.”
Saxton said her partnership with Gordon is improving with every game.
“It’s been amazing, I think we are even more proud of this tournament than we were of Shepparton because we were put to the test a lot here,” Saxton said.
“We are really proud of our composure and how we performed at this event.
“We were super calm and very positive with each other and talked our way through it. We said to keep patient it will come on our side.”
Artacho del Solar and Ngauamo have been playing with different partners over the Australian summer, making their silver medal performance even more meritorious.
“We’re super happy to come away with a medal,” Artacho del Solar said.
“Obviously a gold was what we were going for, but to be standing on the podium in our home country is just a very special feeling you don’t get often.
“To be in the finals you have to beat the best, so we took it one game at a time and we’re happy with how it went.”
Tournament top seeds Grice and Laird beat Germany’s Anni Schumacher and Kim Behrens 21-18, 22-24, 15-11 for the bronze.
The medal capped off a big week for Grice, who celebrated her wedding to fellow Australian beach volleyballer, Casey Grice, the previous weekend.
“It definitely challenged my focus, but I tried to do my best to compartmentalise as best as I could and give my all for the wedding, and then when it was time to switch I just had to put myself 100 per cent into that,” Grice said.”