Back-to-back gold for Men's Beach Volleyroos
Veteran Beach Volleyballer and SASI graduate Chris McHugh alongside SA based apprentice Paul Burnett, retained their title against Canada’s Sam Schachter and Daniel Dearing at the Commonwealth Games.
The pair who use Volleyball Australia’s National Training Centre located at SASI, have added to their gold collection on a scorching day in Birmingham.
It was Burnett’s first outing at the Games with McHugh previously claiming the victory in the Gold Coast Games four years ago.
The duo held strong in the gold medal deciding match prevailing 2-1 in a tight scrap.
Canada came out strong in the first set winning 21-17 but the Aussie pair clawed their way back to take hold of the final two sets.
Each side swayed the scoreboard equally, neither being able to take a fair lead which made the Aussies nervous.
Despite their nerves, McHugh and Burnett rallied together with McHugh making a series of important spikes, pressuring the Canadians to succumb to their playbook.
The Aussies came out on top finishing off 17-21, 21-17, 20-18 for the win.
“I was a bit shaky in the start, but Paul was good – he played really well, he served really well,” McHugh said.
“It’s hard to put it into words – being back-to-back Commonwealth Games gold medallist in beach volleyball is something really special.
“You just want to savour it, because it doesn’t last forever and there will be another tournament in no time. I just want to enjoy this one with my family and friends.”
The victory came a day after a close-call win against Rwanda in the semi-final where the pair admitted, “it got a bit tight.”
McHugh and Burnett were undefeated against each opponent they faced at the Games, coming up against Sri Lanka, the Maldives and South Africa during the preliminary rounds.
"It's incredible. This is why we play, to chase feelings like this," Burnett said.
“We take a lot of confidence from what we’ve done here, we’re looking to build on it and do some damage.”
The pair smashed the Commonwealth Games and now set their sights on the next task, Paris 2024, preparing for their biggest challenge yet.