Photo: Edwin SuikerbuikSouth American Beach Games - Vargas 2014
VARGAS, VENEZUELA: Beach tennis made its debut at the South American Beach Games (Juegos Suramericanos de Playa) which came to an end on the 24 May after 11 days of beach sport competition.
This was the third edition of these multisport games where 14 countries from all over South America battled it out for gold across 11 different disciplines.
Despite these biennial Games originally being scheduled for December 2013, it was worth the wait as they delivered a high calibre of beach competition with beach tennis being one of the first disciplines to hit the sand taking place on 16-18 May.
These Games do not form part of the ITF Beach Tennis Tour or offer ITF World Ranking points but that did not stop the beach tennis elite from fighting to win a gold medal for their nation.
Brazil arrived as beach tennis favourites as their team featured several top 10 players from the ITF Beach Tennis World Rankings. However Chile and Argentina joined hosts Venezuela to challenge for the titles as men’s and ladies’ singles and doubles categories and a mixed doubles category were all being contested.
It was the hosts who caused the favourites the most problems as the two nations shared the podium in all categories with Brazil coming out on top with three gold and two silver medals against Venezuela’s two gold and three silver medals.
The singles events belonged to Venezuela as Ramon Guedez and Patricia Diaz claimed the men’s and ladies’ titles respectively while Brazil dominated the doubles categories.
Marcos Ferreira and Thales Santos added to their title of ITF Beach Tennis Pan American Champions in the men’s doubles category while compatriots Flavia Horta and Lorena Melo won the ladies’ doubles and Flavia Muniz teamed up with Brazilian No. 1 Vini Font to claim gold in the mixed.
The fourth edition of this event will take place in Pimentel in Peru in 2015 and is expected to attract even more nations to the beach tennis event.