Challenge - Espinho, POR - 2023 - Beach Pro Tour 2023 season - News

Carol/Barbara (BRA) vs. Andressa/Vitoria (BRA) - Final 1st Place #5855885

Bárbara and Carol were undefeated in Espinho, with six victories in three days

Brazil celebrated the first medal sweep of a Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Challenge event in the 2023 season on Sunday, in Espinho, with three women’s teams from the South American country standing at the podium at the Praia da Baía, in Portugal.

Veterans Bárbara Seixas and Carol Salgado left the Portuguese sand with the biggest prize as they took the gold medals home, prevailing over Andressa Cavalcanti and Vitoria Rodrigues in the final. The new team of Ágatha Bednarczuk and Rebecca Cavalcanti completed the podium in third place.

  • The Beach Pro Tour Espinho Challenge matches are available on demand on VBTV

It was just the second medal sweep completed at the Beach Pro Tour since the start of the event, in 2022. The first was also staged by Brazilian women, who took all three medals at last year’s Uberlândia Elite16 event, in November – Andressa/Vitoria and Bárbara/Carol were also a part of it, in second and third place, respectively.

In Espinho, Bárbara, a Rio 2016 Olympic medalist, and Carol had a dominant performance against compatriots Andressa and Vitoria in the gold medal match, securing a solid two-set (21-17, 21-14) victory to claim the title.

“It feels amazing,” Bárbara commented. “I’m so happy for our team and our staff. We’ve been working really hard to reach this moment. It’s the first gold this season for us and we hope to achieve much more. It's a long and important season and we're trying to be ready in every aspect. I feel that our dedication is paying off as our performance is getting better at every event. It’s very special to win here, the Portuguese people always welcome us so well.”

Carol/Barbara (BRA) vs. Andressa/Vitoria (BRA) - Final 1st Place #5855892

Carol spikes past Andressa's block during the gold medal match

It was the third Beach Pro Tour title for the 35-year-old Brazilians, who also took gold at last year’s Challenge tournaments in Tlaxcala, Mexico, and Doha, Qatar. The two now have seven medals (three gold, three silver, one bronze) in 18 tournaments in the event.

“This was a very important tournament for us and we put all our energy into it,” Carol remarked. “We had tough matches right from the start and I felt that we got to play better every day. Our last match was certainly the gold medal match. We helped each other, but also had a lot of fun and enjoyed being on the court. Winning gold is amazing, it's really special for us.”

Andressa, 26, and Vitoria, 23, celebrated their sixth Beach Pro Tour medal - they have three silvers and three bronzes. The South Americans also returned to the podium at the Praia da Baía after having finished third at last year's Espinho Challenge.

BPT2023 - Challenge Espinho - Aearding Ceremony_08

The three Brazilian teams pose with their country's flag at the podium

In the bronze medal match, Ágatha and Rebecca overcame Chinese Olympians Chen Xue and Xinyi Xia to secure the all-Brazilian podium with a three-set (21-17, 10-21, 17-15) victory. It was the first medal won by the two as partners and also the first for the Olympic medalist and world champion Ágatha since she returned to competition following the birth of her daughter, Kahena, a few months ago.

“It’s the first podium appearance for our team and it’s great that we got to do it with my daughter here,” Ágatha said. “It’s just our third tournament on the Beach Pro Tour and I’m very proud of what we did here this week. We always feel at home in Espinho and have some really good friends here, that makes it even more special.”

Earlier, in the semifinals, Bárbara and Carol defeated Xue and Xia in straight sets (21-15, 21-16), while Andressa and Vitoria topped Ágatha and Rebecca in the tie-breaker (14-21, 21-16, 15-9).

After the Espinho Challenge, the Beach Pro Tour will cross the Atlantic Ocean, heading to Canada for back-to-back weeks of action. The Edmonton Challenge is the next one, taking place next week, from July 20-23, with the Montreal Elite16 following, from July 26-30.

Quick links:
Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour 2023
Subscribe to Volleyball World's Newsletter