Norwegians Anders Mol and Christian Sørum won their seventh gold medal of a sensational season and their second A1 Major Vienna presented by Swatch on Sunday. Last season's champions and world number ones maintained their irresistible form by taking a third successive gold medal on the FIVB World Tour, following their victories at the Swatch Major Gstaad and the Tokyo four-star event.
The pair, who won bronze at the World Championships last month, gave experienced Brazilians Álvaro Filho and Alison Cerutti no chance in the final, winning 21–11 and 21–17 in front of a packed Red Bull Beach Arena.
Victory for Mol and Sørum also made it 20 successive wins in a row on the World Tour for the Norwegians. They now head to Moscow to defend the European title they won 12 months ago.
"It's incredible, we’re running out of words to describe how we feel, but it’s another gold at a tournament that we love," said blocker Mol. "To win here once was a dream, but to win it back-to-back is just insane."
"It's been a long, hard season and we are playing some of the best teams in the world and it just feels incredible to keep winning and maintaining our high levels. We love Vienna, the atmosphere and the fans are just amazing, so to win again caps a brilliant few weeks for us," added Sørum.
The bronze medal went to the Polish pair Grzegorz Fijalek and Michal Bryl, who needed three sets to beat Americans Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena, winning 21–17, 17–21, 15–11.
Canadians Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan, who took home the top prize from the World Championships in Hamburg last month, continued their red-hot form to beat Brazil’s Carol Solberg Salgado and Maria Antonelli in the women's gold medal match, winning 21-19, 21-16 to lift a third FIVB World Tour title of the season.
I’m not sure when what we’ve accomplished will sink in
After winning the World Championships and their home event in Edmonton, the Canadians were thrilled to add the Vienna Major gold to their growing list of achievements after previously winning Major titles in Gstaad and Poreč.
“To win it today, in this beautiful stadium in beautiful weather is a fairytale ending, for sure,” said defender Humana-Paredes. “I’m not sure when what we’ve accomplished will sink in. In the last six weeks we haven’t had much of a chance to think about what we’ve done. Now we can celebrate with our loved ones, take a break for our mind, body and soul, and be proud of everything.”
The women’s field is so deep that winning a gold medal is tough
Pavan, who dominated at the net throughout the tournament – even successfully landing a block point with her head in the final – echoed her team-mate’s thoughts.
“We got better and better as the tournament went on,” said the blocker. “The women’s field is so deep that winning a gold medal is tough. After a six-week stretch playing and to win three gold medals and completing our Major Series trifecta, it doesn’t get much better.”
Losing finalists Solberg Salgado and Antonelli, who were also silver medallists in Gstaad, were honoured to have reached another Major final.
“Right now it feels great to have these silver medals around our necks,” Solberg Salgado said. “To play a final in this crowded stadium was a real privilege.
Brazil were guaranteed a second medal as two teams from the South American powerhouse went head-to-head in the bronze medal match on Saturday. After a rain delay, it was Ágatha Bednarczuk and Duda Santos Lisboa who eventually came out on top beating Talita Antunes and Taiana Lima to clinch their fourth medal of the 2019 season.
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