Hosts Qatar still unbeaten as handball gears up for semi-finals

DOHA, Qatar handball team, cheered on by a packed-out Central Court, pushed past Australia 24-17, 24-10, continuing an unbeaten record on home sand at Al-Gharafa and setting up a mighty clash with Brazil’s men today evening, who needed three sets to move past Croatia to the business end of the tournament.

On the other hand, Spain’s Kevin Vinales and Francisca Tous (ESP) both were crowned Aquathlon Individual gold medallists after physically taxing, fast races at Katara Beach on 14 October.

Challenging conditions defined the event, which consisted of a 2.5-kilometre run, a 750-metre swim and a second 2.5 kilometres on the pavement.

Mark Devay (HUN) nabbed silver in 26:29, with reigning world champion Rostislav Pevtsov (AZE) in third with a time of 26:43. On the women’s side, Azerbaijan’s Kseniia Levkovska took silver with a time of 30:03, followed by Antoanela Manac (ROU) with bronze in 30:17.

In the men’s race Vinuela stayed with the lead pack through the first run, and entered the water in fifth position behind Belgium’s Emmanuel Lejeune, Pevtsov, Devay and Jaime Gonzalez (MEX). But a strong swim – his specialty – gave him a slight advantage as he emerged from the water just ahead of the Hungarian. He was able to maintain, and even slightly extend, this lead on the final leg, despite the fact that both Pevtsov and Devay are superior runners, finishing with a time of 26:22.

“I can’t swim in warm water,” said a disappointed Pevtsov, who led the field through the first running portion. “It’s not my strong side, and then in the second [running] segment, I didn’t have any power.”

Colombia’s Hugo Ruiz had an impressive performance to place fourth.

Tous proved to be the athlete to beat for the majority of the race in the women’s event. She paced the first leg in a pack along with Mexico’s Itzel Arroyo, Marharyta Krylova (UKR) and Manac. Through the transition, she entered the water third, but exited after the swim leading the race in step with Chloe Pollard (GBR), who had made up more than 30 seconds on the swim. The Spaniard, though, quickly found her second gear on the final run and cruised to a 25-second victory in 29:38.

Pollard eventually placed sixth, while compatriot and one of the race favourites Hannah Kitchen (GBR) did not finish.

Aquathlon’s Mixed Team Relay will take place on 15 October starting at 6 a.m.

Source: Qatar Olympic Committee