2018-04-09 09:18:00 CET
Vanuatu’s Miller Pata has had her second child. And Tommy’s joined her at the Commonwealth Games!
Miller Pata already knows how to deal with juggling dirty diapers and multiple Mikasas.
In 2010, then just 21 years old, the beach star from Vanuatu took baby daughter Jennifer along to the World Tour events in Thailand and China.
So that’s why the 29-year-old has no problem with bringing seven-month-old Tommy to experience the Commonwealth Games here in Australia.
The newest member of the Pata family has already appeared on the stadium’s big screen while his mother battles it out on the hot sand in Coolangatta.
Like any of the beach volleyball elite, especially women, it’s always a tough call to precisely know when to take that all-important ‘baby break’.
After Miller and teammate Linline Matauatu – who also has a daughter, Jennina – missed out by a whisker on qualifying for the Rio Olympics, she knew it was the right time.
“When I had my daughter I had to take some time to get back on the World Tour and qualify for the Olympics – when we didn’t my husband and I decided to have another baby,” explains Miller.
Prior to young Tommy’s arrival, the tandem from Vanuatu were one of the world’s most feared teams on the World Tour, which included a host of ninth place finishes, including at the Hamburg Major in 2016, where they knocked out Swiss stars Isabelle Forrer and Anouk Vergé-Dépré.
Now the pair, who both admit their husbands often have to handle parenthood themselves, are setting their sights on a return to the Beach Volleyball Major Series – after they attempt to take a medal in Australia, of course.
“Yes we’ll be back!” smiled Miller. “It’s important to get back out there and prepare for Tokyo. We missed Rio but the focus after the Commonwealth Games will be picking up ranking points on the Tour.”
Miller and Linline lost their chance to top Pool C after a straight sets defeat to their Oceania rivals from New Zealand, Shaunna Polley and Kelsie Wills. But after the match, less than 20 minutes after the loss, Miller was pushing Tommy in his pram through the mixed zone.
Some things in life are more important than beach volleyball – but these two mothers have proven it’s not impossible to juggle a career and a family at the same time.
Stay tuned later this week for a full feature on family life and beach volleyball on beachmajorseries.com.