Twins Javier and Joaquin Bello scored a historic triumph as they won England’s first beach volleyball medal at the Commonwealth Games.
The Bellos prevailed 21-11 21-12 in their match for the bronze medal against Rwandans Olivier Ntagengwa and Venuste Gatsinzi.
Birmingham’s Smithfield broke when they won with their second match point.
“It would have been amazing for us to win the first medal anywhere, but to do it here at home felt like the whole country was behind us,” Javier said.
“Having all these people supporting us and loving beach volleyball, having our family there and being able to enjoy this moment with them is truly indescribable.
“It’s amazing and I hope we have another moment like this.”
The 22-year-old twins were born in Madrid and started playing volleyball when they were six, but moved to London when they were 10.
They won gold for England at the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games before claiming the first World Tour medal for a British men’s team with a bronze medal in 2019.
The pair topped that feat by winning World Tour gold in Portugal last year and prepared for the Commonwealths by winning the NEVZA Beach Championships in June.
Away from the beach volleyball court, Javier has a degree in politics, philosophy and economics from Royal Holloway University, while Joaquin studies medicine at Imperial College.
A string of stunning performances in Birmingham captured the imagination of home fans, who provided plenty of noise in a raucous atmosphere with music and dancers entertaining throughout the game.
The Bellos missed out on a guaranteed medal after losing to Canada in the semi-finals on Saturday, but responded with a quality performance against their Rwandan opponents to deliver bronze on Sunday.
“We were gutted after yesterday’s loss but today we had the most important game of our lives,” said Joaquin.
“We played amazing, probably the best game we’ve played in the whole tournament, and I’m so proud of my brother and the way he played.”
Australia won gold for the second consecutive Games as Chris McHugh – who triumphed alongside now-retired Damien Schumann in 2018 – and Paul Burnett beat Canadians Sam Schachter and Dan Dearing later on Sunday .
In the women’s tournament, Canadians Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan won gold, beating Australians Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho del Solar 22-24 21-17 15-12.
Miller Pata and Tini Toko won bronze for Vanuatu – the South Pacific nation’s first Games medal.