Agadir, Morocco, July 23, 2017 – France’s Youssef Krou and Quincy Aye triumphed with the men’s title at the Agadir stop on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour 2017. While for Krou this was the second gold on the Tour after a 2014 Xiamen Open top finish with Edouard Rowlandson, for 22-year-old Aye this is the first ever medal out of six appearances so far.
Qatar’s Julio Cesar Do Nascimento Junior and Ahmed Tijan, seeded third in the main draw, took the silver, while second-seeded Iranians Bahman Salemiinjehboroun and Rahman Raoufi settled for the bronze. None of these four players had ever won a World Tour medal in their career. Despite the enthusiastic support from the crowded stands, fourth-seeded Moroccans Zouheir El Graoui and Mohamed Abicha finished just short of a podium spot, but this was still their country’s best achievement on the Tour so far.
The tribunes in Agadir were packed for the bronze medal match between Morocco and Iran
The eighth-seeded Krou and Aye set the pace in the first set of the final match against Julio and Tijan. On their third set point, Aye’s hit was too powerful for Qatar’s defence to save and the set ended at 21-18. The second set was competitive only through 8-8. France broke away with seven points in a row and never looked back on the way to a 2-0 (21-18, 21-14) victory, hammered out in 34 minutes.
In a very tight and dramatic bronze medal match, the Moroccans were in the lead through most of the first set, but the Iranians managed to catch up at 19-19. However, Abicha converted the first set point with a perfect tip into the corner of the opponents’ half. Salemi and Raoufi had a slight advantage throughout the second set to reach a double set point before tying the match with a 21-19 close. The tie-breaker was also very close. Iran were the first to reach match point at 14-13. On their next match point, a long shot for Morocco put an end to it all at 2-1 (19-21, 21-19, 16-14) Iran’s way after 59 minutes of play.
In the first semifinal, earlier on Sunday, Krou and Aye put a stop to the home heroes’ successful run. Despite the support from the home crowd that El Graoui and Abicha enjoyed, the Frenchmen dominated throughout the match and cruised to a 2-0 (21-12, 21-16) victory.
After 12-11 in the second semifinal, Julio and Tijan made a 9-3 run to win it by a wide margin. Salemi and Raoufi responded by winning the last three rallies in an otherwise very tight second set to tie the match. Qatar took an early lead in the tie-breaker and held on it through the end, which was brought about by Juilo’s monster block for the last point – 2-1 (21-13, 17-21, 15-11).