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Spain dominant at Doha Aquathlon debut

Qatar – The day started early in the ANOC World Beach Games in Doha, with both Male and Female athletes competing in the debut of Aquathlon in the event, in what ended up being a golden sunrise for Spain, claiming both gold medals.

Doha Aquathlon Men’s race

The Men’s field was led by the current Aquathlon World Champion, Emmanuel Lejeune (BEL), who commanded the 30 men competing in the World Beach Games right from the first meters of the 2.5km run. Some other fast runners, like Rostislav Petsov (AZE), Mark Devay (HUN) or Kevin Tarek Vinuelas (ESP) quickly followed him and managed to open a small group that led the athletes into the calm waters of the Doha bay.

It was during the 750m swim where the strong swimmers were able to take the lead and control the situation, with Tarek Vinuelas quickly getting in the first position, with Devay behind him, and exited the water with almost 25 seconds over Domen Dormik (SLO), who led the chasers out of the water.

But in the last 2.5km of the run the Spaniard made it clear that he was here to fight for the gold medal. With Lejeune almost a minute behind, and with only Devay following his steps, they both run almost together until the last lap. It was then when Tarek Vinuelas added the extra gear just to see that no one was able to follow him.

All smiles, he took the tape to top up a brilliant season that had him also on top of the podium at the Mediterranean Beach Games in Patras, as well as the silver medal in the Pontevedra Aquathlon Worlds. Behind him, Devay crossed the finish line in the second place with Petsov grabbing the bronze medal.

Great performance also for Hugo Ruiz, from Colombia, finishing in fourth place, followed by Ramon Matute (ECU) and Kotaro Watanabe (JPN).

“I struggled a bit in the first meters of the run until I could get a good position, and then managed to just stay behind the leading group until the swim. I had a really great swim, I was keeping an eye on Mark (Devay) as I know he is also a great swimmer, and we both passed the group and kept going by ourselves. I am so glad that we were able to compete in the original swim distance. I had a fantastic swim, and I think it was key for the victory”, said the Spaniard.

“In the she second run I was trying to cool down and keep the situation under control. I thought I was going to be fighting for the medals, but when I saw that Devay couldn’t follow me at the end I was really happy. This is a surprise for me! I now just need to recover and try to perform also as well as today tomorrow in the Mixed Relay”, he explained.

Doha Aquathlon Women’s race

The 30 competing female athletes took the start only a couple of minutes after the Men’s race, and it was rather quickly that a small group of five athletes took the lead: Antoanela Manac (ROM), Xisca Tous (ESP), Itzel Arroyo (MEX), Zsanett Bragmayer (HUN) and Marta Kropko (HUN).

With a few seconds over the group of chasers, both Hungarians and the Spaniard entered the waters knowing that maintaining the positions in the swim will be decisive to be able to fight for the medals. And it was by the second buoy when Tous decided to push an extra gear and take control of the race, only joined by British Cloe Pollard, who had a magnificent swim.

They both got out of the water leading the field, with the Hungarians, Manac and Kseniia Levkovska (AZE) only a few seconds behind. But as soon as she got on her running shoes, Tous just went all for it, never looking back.

With the fastest split of the day, Tous crossed the finish line in the first place, with over 25 seconds with the silver medalist, Levkovska, while current World Champion, Manac, only managing to finish in the third place. The young Hungarian Kropko finished in the fourth place after a sprint in the blue carpet with Marharyta Krylova (UKR), with Pallard finishing in the sixth place.

“I think the heat made a difference here. In the first segment of the run I knew I had to stay a bit behind, to avoid getting in the water with such a contrast of temperatures. But in the swim I felt really well and since no one was willing to push, I just set up the pace as I wanted and kept it until we reached the shore. And then in the last 2.5km I just gave everything I had. I knew I had some fast girls behind me, so I just never looked back until I crossed the finish line”, said Tous after crossing the finish line.


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