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Stam and Schoon ended a phenomenal two-week run in Mexico with the gold in Rosarito

Raisa Schoon and Katja Stam wouldn’t waste their second opportunity of winning a Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour event. One week after settling for silver in the Tlaxcala Challenge, the Dutch Olympians stepped at the top of the podium of the Rosarito Elite 16 tournament in Mexico on Sunday.

Schoon, 20, and Stam, 23, remained in rhythm after their defeat to Brazilians Barbara Seixas and Carol Salgado last Sunday and had a dominating performance to top Latvians Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka in straight sets (21-14, 21-13) and become the first winners of an Elite 16 event of the Beach Pro Tour.

Stam/Schoon vs. Kravcenoka/Graudina - Match Highlights

“It’s amazing, I can’t even describe how I feel,” Stam said. “I think the main difference between last week's event and this one was that in Tlaxcala we were somewhat happy with being on the final and weren't as aggressive as today. This time we just kept going. It's what we wanted and I'm glad and proud that we did it. To see that we could perform at this level in the final of an Elite 16, it's really amazing.”

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The Dutch had a remarkable run in Rosarito, starting their journey in the qualifier and ending it with the gold medals around their necks. Schoon and Stam played more than any other team this week, being on the court for seven matches and 18 sets over the course of five days.

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Stam was unstoppable at the net during the gold medal match

Their victory in Rosarito has earned the Europeans their first gold medals in an international tournament. Besides last week’s Tlaxcala’s silver, Schoon and Stam have also finished second at last year’s European Championship.

“Our next tournament will be Itapema, so we'll be back on the court soon preparing for it,” Schoon added. “But right now all we want is to rest a little bit and enjoy this moment.”

Despite the setback on the gold medal match, Graudina and Kravcenoka also leave Rosarito with reasons to celebrate as the two have finally won their first international beach volleyball medal as partners. The 2019 European champions had finished fourth three times last year, including at the Tokyo Olympics.

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Teams from Latvia, the Netherlands and Brazil stand at the podium in Mexico

It was also a memorable tournament for Brazilian Olympians Talita Antunes and Rebecca Cavalcanti, who stepped on the podium together in an international event for the first time since they started their partnership, last September.

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Rebecca and Talita celebrate their first medal as partners

The Brazilians, who started the tournament in the qualifier, played Kelly Claes and Betsi Flint for the second time in Rosarito and defeated the Americans again in the bronze medal match, prevailing in two sets (22-20, 21-19).

“We’re feeling great,” Talita commented. “We’ve prepared for such a long time for this tournament. It was a tough tournament as we started in the qualifier, which is always difficult, but we did it. We had a lot of patience to deal with our ups and downs. We’ll celebrate a bit but we don’t have much time because we’ll be back on the court at the Brazilian Tour next week.”

Flint/Claes vs. Talita/Rebecca - Match Highlights

From Mexico, the Beach Pro Tour moves to Australia as the city of Coolangatta will host the first Future event of the season next week, from March 30-April 3. The next Elite 16 tournament will take place from May 25-29 in Ostrava, Czech Republic.