Brilliant Bellos achieve British best on World Tour
16th August 2021
Javier and Joaquin Bello achieved an historic win for Great Britain at the weekend as they clinched gold in Cortegaça, Portugal, on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour.
The Bellos have beaten their own record which was set almost two years ago when they took bronze in Rubavu, Rwanda – the first ever World Tour medal for an English or British Men’s team. Their growing medal collection also includes a gold from the 2017 Youth Commonwealth Games.
Teammates Issa Batrane and Freddie Bialokoz also impressed at the competition, which took place from 12th – 15th August at the Portuguese Volleyball Federation's beach volleyball performance centre, narrowly missing out on a spot in the semi-finals.
Topping the podium
With the deciding set at match point, Portugal’s Joao Pedrosa took a deep breath and served the ball. Javier scrambled forward to receive it, his brother setting nicely, and Javier fired an unanswerable rocket towards the home team.
As the ball hit the sand, Javier and Joaquin pumped the air and then dropped to their knees and embraced each other, realising the magnitude of what they had just achieved.
The brothers, aged just 21, are improving all of the time and have had some notable successes since returning to the international stage in April 2021.
They secured £18,000 towards their Birmingham 2022 preparations at the Commonwealth Games Funding Tournament in Bournemouth without dropping a set; they finished fifth in a hard-fought World Tour event in Leuven, Belgium; and won gold on Spain’s beach volleyball tour.
And that hot form continued in Cortegaça, as the Bellos emerged from Pool C without dropping a set.
Finishing top meant they automatically qualified for the quarter-finals, where they saw off Austrian pair Friedl/Schnetzer 2-1 (21-16; 14-21; 15-10). A more comfortable win over another Austrian team, Reiter/Murauer (21-13; 21-17), followed, before meeting Pedrosa/Campos of Portugal in the final – which can be watched back on YouTube.
The home team's serve gave them the advantage in the first set (17-21), but the Bellos refused to give up and battled back to take the second (21-15) and third set (15-8), making British beach volleyball history in the process.
After a rich vein of success, the Bellos are currently ranked 80th in the world by the FIVB.
Success for Issa and Freddie
Teammates Issa Batrane and Freddie Bialokoz’s entered the main draw in Pool A after beating Costa/Andre Sapina of Portugal 2-0 (21-14; 21-17) and Liotatis/Zorpis of Cyprus 2-1 (21-19; 19-21; 15-8) in qualification.
In the pool stages they beat Norway’s Opsahl/Gamlemoen in straight sets (21-10; 21-18) but narrowly lost to eventual finalists Pedrosa/Campos 2-1 (15-21; 21-15; 19-21) to finish second in Pool A.
The came from behind in the round of 12 to see off Korycki/Lech 2-1 (15-21; 22-20; 15-9) of Poland but were stopped in their tracks in the quarter finals in a competitive game against Austria’s Reiter, J./Murauer (21-18; 15-21; 9-15).
An impressive tournament for Issa and Freddie having started in the first round of qualification.
A breakthrough moment
Andy Jones, who is currently working with England’s national teams, said: “What the Bellos have achieved in Portugal is up there as one of the very best for English and British beach volleyball. It is a huge breakthrough and bodes well for the rest of the beach volleyball season.
“I know I speak for many people from across the community when I say just how proud we all are of Javier and Joaquin. They have put in so much hard work and it is starting to pay off.
“A great result for Issa and Freddie too. They put on an impressive string of performances to advance from the first round of qualification right through to the quarter-finals.
“We are now pushing to get our Women’s teams back competing on the world stage.”
Both teams will now turn their attention to their next competition: a 1-star FIVB World Tour event in Budapest, which begins on Thursday, 19th August.