2018-03-29 16:05:00 CEST
Which women's teams are heading to Australia? Find out here!
Mariafe Artacho Del Solar / Taliqua Clancy (Australia)
Australian eyes will be on Mariafe and Taliqua to keep gold on home soil. The duo only teamed up at the end of last season and they have already won two World Tour tournaments together, including one in Sydney in November. Both players played with different partners in the Rio Olympics so have the benefit of big-game experience, plus they will have a passionate home crowd behind them. Taliqua finished fifth on the Copacabana and has a Major Series medal to her name having won bronze in Poreč in 2015. Mariafe and Taliqua posted a ninth-place in Fort Lauderdale in February.
Lynne Beattie / Melissa Coutts (Scotland)
Much has been written about Lynne and Melissa’s indoor training facility in Scotland: a barn close to their Edinburgh homes! The Scottish duo have a wealth of experience: Lynne captained the British indoor volleyball team at the 2012 Olympics – where she was awarded the title of FIVB Hero, while Melissa, at 47, is the oldest competing athlete in beach volleyball. The pair hit the beach together last season, finishing in the top 10 in four of their six World Tour events in 2017 and made their Major Series debut in Fort Lauderdale in February, losing in the qualification stage to Germans Victoria Bieneck and Isabel Schneider, a team that went onto finish fourth in Florida.
Thornia Williams / Renisha Stafford (Grenada)
Grenada’s number one beach team will be aiming to build on the promise they have shown in North Americans events in their careers so far. Thornia came to the beach via the indoor route, while Renisha has changed sports completely – she used to compete in netball. The duo qualified for the Games as wildcards.
Mariota Angelopoulou and Manolina Konstantinou (Cyprus)
The Cypriot pair secured their spot in Australia by qualifying thanks to a victory in a European qualification tournament in September last year on home sand. Mariota and Manolina have enjoyed success together on the European Tour, reaching the top 10 in three of the four events they’ve competed together. In 2009 the pair finished fifth in the Under-18 European Championships in Portugal.
Sarah Pavan / Melissa Humana-Paredes (Canada)
Undoubtedly the hot favorites, Sarah and Melissa head Down Under off the back of a stunning first season together last year. The Canadians reached the semifinals in seven of their eight World Tour events, winning one gold, two silver and one bronze, including top spot at the Poreč Major. The duo finished fourth in the World Championships in Vienna and began this season by finishing fifth in Fort Lauderdale in February. Pavan posted a fifth place in the Rio Olympics before teaming up with Melissa, who was named Most Improved Player last term.
Jessica Grimson / Victoria Palmer (England)
England’s number one beach volleyball pair have given up their day jobs to focus on the Games and a full-time career in beach volleyball. Jessica and Victoria warmed up for the Gold Coast in Fort Lauderdale, while last season the duo posted a career-best fifth place in a World Tour event in Korea. The pair are also three-time beach champions of England.
Rheeza Grant / Abby Blackman (Trinidad & Tobago)
The duo are the reigning national champions of Trinidad and Tobago and head to Australia having secured their spot through their North American/Caribbean qualification tournament. Both Rheeza and Abby have played for T&T’s national indoor team where they took part in the 2011 Pan-AM Volleyball Cup.
Laite Nima / Iliseva Ratudina (Fiji)
Fijian duo Laite and Iliseva made their debuts on the World Tour in the one-star event in Shepparton, Australia in February. The pair qualified for the Gold Coast by triumphing at the Pacific Mini Games in December.
Shauna Polley / Kelsie Wills (New Zealand)
New Zealanders Shauna and Kelsie, an auditor for KPMG by trade, make the short trip to Australia having made their Major Series debut in Fort Lauderdale in February. They lost in the second round of qualification in Florida to eventual silver medalists Carolina Horta and Taiana Lima. The Kiwis qualified thanks to their FIVB World Ranking, with a number of solid displays on the World Tour in 2017. That included a bronze medal in the one-star event in Ulsan, Korea, in July.
Miller Pata / Linline Matauatu (Vanuatu)
Making a comeback on the World Tour in 2018, Miller and Linline return to action on the sand in Australia and hold an excellent claim for a medal at the Games. The team from Vanuatu were regulars on the World Tour until Miller took a break at the end of the 2016 to have a baby. Among their career highlights are a ninth place at the Hamburg Major and another ninth place at the 2013 World Championships. They will be one of the teams to watch in Gold Coast.
Lau Ee Shan / Ong Wei Yu (Singapore)
With a combined age of 44, Lau and Ong are the youngest women’s team to be competing on the beach at Coolantanga. The pair qualified by winning the Asian (AVC) qualification tournament and are regular winners of competitions on the Asian Tour. Ong finished fifth at the South East Asian Beach Volleyball Championships, while Lau, at 21, is the youngest female beach star heading for Gold Coast.
Charlotte Nzayisenga / Denyse Mutatsimpunda (Rwanda)
Africa’s only female competitors in Coolantanga qualified thanks to winning gold at the CAVB Beach Volleyball Cup in Mozambique in May last year. Charlotte and Denyse have a wealth of experience on the big stage having competed at the World Championships in Vienna last season. The Rwandans, previously junior African champions, lost all of their matches in Austria but were by no means disgraced in matches against strong opposition including Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes of the USA.
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