Paul Clarke, Gleaner Writer
Top local beach volleyball pair, Gatasheu Bonner and Ryck Webb, outclassed their rivals to walk away winners of the first staging of the Linkz FM International Beach Volleyball Classic, which was played for three days at Negril's Long Bay Beach Park.
The pair dominated the male category to win the title in straight sets 21-19, 21-18 over Donovan Richards and Christopher Walters.
On the women side, Renae Temple and Cherie Thompson turned the tables on Shedeiky Hamilton-Barnes and Kai Wright over two thrilling sets, to claim the female title 22-20 in the first set and 21-18.
Temple and Wright went through the entire format without dropping a set and told The Gleaner their hard work and determination paid off.
"We worked really hard for this one," said Wright. "We came here with a goal and we achieved it, and it's so pleasing."
Temple added: "They beat us the last time we played them, but we went and fixed what went wrong, turned up here and did our business. I am extremely happy to have won."
The pair will now turn their attention to the October 26 MOSA Classic to be held at Mico University College, where the two will take part as key members of the UWI Pelicans team. They will then leave the island for the Cayman Islands, where they are down to contest a local championship, before returning for the UWI Invitational Volleyball Championship, which is set for November 15-17.
The Bonner-Webb duo showed why they are consistently at the top of their game with a straight sets win in the semi-finals, turning back the pair of Kevin Williams and Omar Williams 15-5, 15-13 before dominating the final in thrilling fashion.
Williams and Williams went on to secure third place with a 21-16 victory over Tafarie Samuels and Conrado Taylor. Brithney Scott and Khesia Livingston secured third place on the women's side, defeating Trudy-Ann Frazer and Petal Smith 21-15 in the single set play-off.
A GOOD WORKOUT
In the final, the Richards/Walters tandem gave Bonner and Webb a good workout in the first set, pushing them with a number of timely saves and strong digs. But the experience and skill of Bonner and Webb came to the fore and they moved away with several unanswered points to talke the set 21-19.
The second was mere formality, as it was clear they had broken the spirit of their opponents. That set was won 21-18.
"It was a very competitive final and a nice experience. The competition was at a very high level," declared Webb.
"We want to have more of these tournaments across the country to build the sport and develop them also in the high schools so Jamaica can regularly have players on the international stage," added Bonner.