Australia's biggest beach volleyball tournament since Sydney 2000 ramps up
7 March 2019
BEACH VOLLEYBALL: The biggest beach volleyball tournament staged in Australia since the Sydney Olympics ramps up on Thursday, with the 3-star FIVB tournament main draw kicking off at iconic Manly beach.
With $150 000 prize money and crucial world ranking points that go towards Tokyo 2020 qualification on offer, the competition will be fierce.
The Australian women’s team of Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho del Solar enter the tournament on a high note after winning the Australian Championships last weekend, also at Manly.
After a stellar 2018 season that featured multiple world tour event wins and a top-5 ranking, Clancy and Artacho del Solar are excited to put their offseason work on show for their home crowd.
“We love the support we get from the Aussies,” Clancy said. “Our sport is so interactive, the louder the crowd is the better it is for us – we feed off the pure energy.
“We had a moment in the Aus Championship final last weekend, a really close game at 12-13, we won a point and the crowd blew up - it’s an amazing feeling that we feed off.”
After moving to Sydney from Peru as a child and playing her first beach volleyball at Manly, Artacho del Solar loves the chance to play on her home beach.
“It’s amazing to be back in Manly – it has a special place in my heart, I love coming here,” she said. “I really enjoy the atmosphere, the energy of the people, it’s so much fun and we can’t wait to put on a show this weekend.”
The pair have put in a strong offseason to prepare for 2019, in which world rankings and tournament results will directly impact Tokyo 2020 qualification.
“We’ve done a lot of work with our coach to go through what we learnt from last season and what we want to improve on in our games individually and as a team,” Clancy explained.
“We’ve knuckled down on a few skills we want to add. We have the goods, it’s just about as many weapons we can pick up refine and sharpen. We’ve been able to show a few this past weekend which is great, it shows all the hard work over the offseason is paying off and we want to keep that momentum going into this weekend’s 3-star tournament.”
This is the first year the competition has been a 3-star tour event, upgraded from a 2-star last year. The increase in prize money and ranking points on offer has attracted a world class field, including American 5-time Olympian and 3-time Olympic champion Kerri Walsh Jennings.
“I haven’t been back since 2000 Olympics I’m so happy to be back,” Walsh Jennings said.
“Manly is heaven on earth – beach volleyball, sand surf, it’s amazing. The sand is incredible too – great sand like this makes it more like true beach volleyball. It’s fun to be on a true beach with the elements - the wind has been gnarly which makes it a great challenge and it will make us better.”
You can catch all the action at Manly Beach or follow the livestream at Volleyball Australia here.