Spain’s Francisca Tous and Kevin Viñuela collected their second gold medals of the World Beach Games Qatar 2019 with a thrilling, come-from-behind victory over Azerbaijan in the Aquathlon Mixed Team Relay this morning at Katara Beach.
One relay leg consisted of a 1.25-kilometre run followed by a 500-metre swim and another 1.25 kilometres on the pavement. Teams of two – one woman and one man – had to alternate completing two legs each of the run-swim-run.
It was a three-team race between the Spaniards – each gold medallists in the individual event – Kseniia Levkovska/Rostislav Pevtsov(AZE) and Hungary’s Marta Kropko/Mark Devay by the time the men hit the water for the first time. Although Pevtsov, who has struggled with the high water temperatures, was last among the three out of the water, he and Viñuela were even at the end of the run and the handover to the women.
Tous held on to a slim lead through her first run, but slowed down on the swim, allowing Levkovska, a strong swimmer, to open up a gap between the rest of the field. Kropko also passed Tous in the water, but the Spaniard again charged ahead on the run.
As it came down to the final leg, Levkovska handed the lead over to her teammate Pevtsov, who built himself a sizeable advantage of 15 seconds on the run, his strength.
But in the last 500 metres in the water, Viñuela proved his dominance in the discipline. He caught the Azerbaijani and maintained a slight advantage when the athletes returned to the pavement. Pevtsov appeared to struggle through the transition and into the start of the race’s final segment. He was able to keep the Spaniard in his sights until just after the halfway turnaround, at which point, he began to fade and Viñuela seemingly only got stronger. He crossed the line in 1:03:43, 12 seconds ahead of his second-place rival.
The Hungarians, after a small penalty in the second round, took bronze in 1:04:31, 48 seconds back.
Colombia’s Maira Vargas/Hugo Ruiz and Itzel Arroyo/Ivan Castro (MEX) held on with the leaders in the early stages of the race, but fell back to finish in fourth and fifth places, respectively.