Team GB claimed two medals on the final day of competition at the Inaugural World Beach Games in Doha, Qatar.
Guy Bridge (Exmouth) secured Team GB’s first medal of the World Beach Games, bagging the bronze medal in the men’s kite foil competition, whist Team GB’s women’s beach soccer team won silver.
Bridge, who narrowly missed out on a direct route to the final from the qualifying series by just two points, had to come through a tough semi-final line-up that included the most recent Kitefoil World Cup Series winner, France’s Theo de Ramecourt, for his medal shot.
Bridge took the challenge in his stride and topped his semi-final heat to secure his place in the final.
With just four athletes in the final, racing was extremely tight and in the end Florian Gruber from Germany proved too strong for the field and won the gold medal in just two races, with Nicolas Parlier of France taking silver and Bridge bronze.
Speaking after the race Bridge said: “I always knew today would be quite difficult because I had Theo in my semi-final and I knew it would be tough to beat him to get into the final.
“I didn’t realise I had won the first medal for Team GB at the World Beach Games, so that is great! It has been a hard couple of days, but it is great to come away with a bronze medal.
With kite foiling set to be part of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games Bridge said; “Paris is still a long way off, but it would be pretty cool to go. Kite foiling is a great sport for spectators, especially when the racing is all really close like it was today. The foils, the speed, it is just a great sport to watch.”
Sadly, later in the evening it was heartbreak for the Team GB women’s beach soccer team as they lost the gold medal match to Spain 3-2.
Despite an early goal from Molly Clark (Portsmouth), three goals from their Spanish opposition in the first period made for tough for Team GB to come back.
With a scoreless second period, all was to play for in the third and final period. It was end to end action and a Rebecca Barron (Gosport) strike with 8min 30 left on the clock brought Team GB back in the game, bringing the score to within one goal. Then with a minute left on the clock Team GB narrowly missed out on an equaliser from a followed up shot from Gemma Hillier (Gosport) but sadly it wasn’t to be and the game finished 3-2 to Spain.
An emotional Captain Sarah Kempson (Littlehampton) said; “We had two of the best teams in the world competing on the biggest stage tonight and I am super proud of both team’s today for putting a great show.
“I am so proud of the girls, the effort they put in and for putting on a great show. We are obviously disappointed to not win the gold medal but credit to Spain, they are a talented team and a great bunch of girls.
“It was a whole squad effort and we have done ourselves proud today and we are going to continue to keep pushing for those top spots.
“I have been in the sport for seven years and it has grown hugely I that time. I really hope that we can now create a platform for younger girls to have the opportunity that I have had. I have played all around the world and whist I hope I continue to get those opportunities I hope that girls watching have been inspired to come and give it a go, and one day take my spot and in ten year’s time show me how it is done.”
Courtesy of Team GB