Another golden day for Spain at the ANOC Beach Games Aquathlon Mixed Relay
15 October 2019
Spain added a third gold medal to their tally at the ANOC World Beach Games Mixed Relay event, with a fantastic last leg of the individual race winner Kevin Tarek Vinuelas, who crossed the finish line in first place to put his country on top of the medal table of the Games. Azerbaijan continued the excellent performance of the team in the individual races to grab the silver medal, while Team Hungary took the last step of the podium.
Sixteen teams of two athletes -one male, one female- lined up for the debut of the Aquathlon Mixed Relays at the World Beach Games in Doha, with each athlete doing a 1.25k run, 500m swim and another 1.25k run before tagging a teammate, to then repeat it all again, with each athlete doing the distance twice.
And with Romania not having a team, it was clear from the beginning that the three countries that swept the podium in the Individual races were going to be the ones to beat. Xisca Tous (ESP) was in charge of setting up the pace in the first leg, with Kesniia Levkovska (AZE), Marta Kropko (HUN) and Maira Vargas (COL) close behind. But in the swim, it was the young Hungarian the one that managed to open up a gap, even though it was not enough to avoid Team Spain and Team Azerbaijan passing her in the last meters.
In the first Men’s leg, Azerbaijan, Spain, Hungary and Colombia formed a leading group that stayed quite close all the way till the end, with all of them trying to save some energy for the last leg, but with both Mark Devay (HUN) and Hugo Ruiz (COL) leaving equipment in the wrong box in transition, which resulted in both teams having to serve a 15 seconds penalty that proved to be decisive at the end.
By the team the women had to go back again to the circuit, Azerbaijan, Hungary and Spain had managed to leave Colombia and Mexico a bit behind. In front, Levkovska pushed hard to open a break in the first run, but was not able to follow Kropko in the 500m swim, in which the Hungarian once more left all the field behind to leave the water with almost five seconds over the Azerbaijani and the Spanish athletes. The heat, even though it was 6.30am, started striking the athletes, and Tous showed again that she can perform well in hot conditions, closing the gap before tagging for the last time.
With the medals still to be decided among the first three teams in the last leg, Rostislav Pevtsov (AZE) knew that his chances were in the run and pushed hard in the first 1.25km, enough to have almost 15 seconds over Tarek Vinuelas before entering the water for the last time. Behind them, Devay and Ruiz stopped to serve their penalty, with Ivan Castro, from Mexico, trying to make contact con the second group. But it was in the last swim leg where all was going to be decided. With powerful and fast strokes, Tarek Vinuelas made up the almost 15 seconds that the Azerbaijani had to pass him right before approaching the last buoy. And with only 1.25km to run before the finish line, the Spaniard managed to keep up the difference to cross the finish line in the first place, the third gold medal for Spain in two days of Aquathlon competition.
Behind him, an exhausted Pevtsov crossed the finish line in second 12 seconds behind, while Hungary closed up another fantastic day in Doha with a bronze medal in the Mixed Relay, leaving Colombia in the fourth place and Mexico in fifth.
“When Xisca tagged me for my last leg I honestly thought that we were gonna have to fight for the second step of the podium. When I got into the water I never thought that I was going to be able to catch up with him, but I found myself really strong and comfortable in the swim and when I passed him I felt more confident that I could do it. The last run was a tough one, but I gave everything I had, and managed to keep up the difference. It felt amazing to hear the cheers of the spectators, that really gave me wings today. I am really happy and proud of our performance here in Doha these days”, expained Tarek Vinuelas.
“In my second leg we had a really fast first run, and I got to the water feeling a bit tired, so when the Hungarian pushed, I couldn’t follow her. But I was able to close the gap in the run, because we knew that Hungary had to serve a penalty and I wanted to tag Kevin as close as I could with the Azerbaijani girls. We knew they were the ones to beat for us, and we also knew that Kevin’s swim is really good while the swim is the Achilles heel for Pevtsov, so we went for it. I am so happy with our final result. Means a lot for us”, said Xisca Tous.
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2019 Doha World Beach Games