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AUSTRALIA LOOKING TO CLEAN SWEEP ASIAN TITLES

Australia will be chasing an Asian Beach Volleyball Championships double on Manly Beach on Monday with Helloworld Volleyroos filling three of the four finals positions.

The host nation is guaranteed a gold medal in the men’s competition, with two-time Asian champions Issac Kapa and Chris McHugh taking on Adelaide-based Bo Soderberg and Cole Durant in the final.

World U23 champions Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Nikki Laird will be looking for gold on their home beach, when they take on the impressive Chinese combination of Chen Xue and Xinyi Xia.

Missing from the gold medal matches will be Australia’s Josh Court and Damien Schumann, who tasted defeat for the first time in eight tournaments when they were beaten by Soderberg and Durant 21-19, 21-16 in their semi-final.

Kapa and McHugh continued to live dangerously, winning their third consecutive three-set match to book a place in the gold medal play-off.

The Australians beat New Zealand’s Ben O’Dea and Jason Lochead 21-18, 17-21, 15-12.

O’Dea and Lochead will play Schumann and Court for the bronze medal.

China’s Chen Xue and Xinyi Xia will start favourites in the women’s gold medal match, despite the home crowd support for Laird and del Solar.

The Chinese combination have not dropped a set during the Championships, easily disposing of Japan’s Ishii Miki and Murakami Megumi 21-11, 21-8 in their semi-final.

By contrast, Laird and del Solar had to work hard to see off Thailand’s Varapatsorn Radarong and Tanarattha Udomchavee 23-25, 21-15, 15-11.

The men’s and women’s gold medal matches will be televised live throughout Asia.