Colombia scored an heroic 14-11 victory over Thailand for the women’s gold medal on the fifth day of the FINA Challengers’ Cup, thus taking out the inaugural title.

The match was won in the final quarter with a 5-2 effort by Colombia after the scores were level at one, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine and 10. That 10-10 came a minute into the final quarter and made it the seventh time that Thailand levelled. The only time it did not have to come from behind to level was after scoring the opening goal. From then it was all Colombia making the charge and at 10-10 it still looked like Colombia’s title.

Juliana Atchertua took a six-metre foul and scored for the go-ahead goal and an outside rocket from Angela Rivera gave Colombia the vital two-goal difference — 12-10. Watanya Nijhlag fired from the six-metre line for her third goal to bring it back to one, but Carolina Ortega carefully lobbed from the top into the bottom right for 13-11.

A penalty strike at 2:07 by Susana Atchertua closed the scoring at 14-11 — and her fifth goal —and gained Colombia a remarkable victory after such a close and exciting encounter. Kritsana Puangtong also scored three goals for Thailand. In their preliminary-round encounter, the match finished at 12-12., so it was always going to be tight.

In the bronze-medal match between Kuwait and Venezuela men, Kuwait, who finished second in the group stage, had to work for the 11-7 victory.

Kuwait had the better of the opening quarter, keeping Venezuela scoreless, but lost the second quarter 3-2 as the South Americans awoke. Kuwait bounced back in the third with a variety of goals. In the final period, Kuwait jumped to 10-5 with scores from either side of the pool on the top line. Venezuela offered resistance through a score from deep right, only for Kuwait from the same position. Venezuela took a timeout with three minutes on the clock, gained an extra-man attack and snapped the ball across to the right-hand-catch position for Jonder Perdomo to reduce the margin to 11-7, which proved to be the final scoreline.

Kuwait would have to think it should have been in the final, but now adds a bronze to its collection of gold from 2009 and bronze in 2011. Kuwait’s star striker was Yousef Bossakhar with three.

Saturday results:
Men: Bronze medal: Kuwait 11 Venezuela 7 (3-0, 2-3, 3-2, 3-2).
Women: Gold medal: Thailand 11 Colombia 14 (2-3, 3-3, 4-3, 2-5).

Sunday schedule:
15:30, Women’s Bronze: Puerto Rico v Venezuela.
17:30, Men’s Gold: Puerto Rico v Colombia.