Last minute pairing triumph on Gold Coast

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A pair of beach volleyballers thrown together at the last minute have won the women's title at the Australian Grand Slam event at Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast.
 
Adelaide's Becchara Palmer and Manly's Katie Bartoli came together as a pair just three days before the Gold Coast event. Their opening game of the weekend was the first time they'd ever hit together.
 
The pairing was the result of injuries to their regular playing partners.
 
"If we're honest, our first few games were not lovely," Palmer said after she and Bartoli defeated World U23 champions, Nikki Laird and Mariafe Artacho del Solar in straight sets, 22-20, 21-13.
 
"Maybe as a new pairing we were a bit tentative, a bit nervous and hadn't quite found our mojo. But we got better every match, and our final was definitely our best game."
 
It was Bartoli's first ever tour title, although she finished with two silver medals with regular partner Pip Soulsby last summer.
 
"I was 15 when I first started, I'm 23 now, so I'm pretty pumped," she said.
 
It was also the first Australian title for Palmer since her return to the beach volleyball tour after the London Olympics. Palmer retired after London, but then came out of retirement 12 months later and teamed with another Adelaide player, Zina Stone, with a goal of qualifying for Rio.
 
But those plans have been thrown into turmoil, with Stone forced to take a break from the sport through injury.
 
26-year-old Palmer is now desperately trying to find a new partner who will help her qualify for Rio.
 
In the men's final, New Zealand's Mike Watson and Sam O'Dea followed up their Oceania title from December with a three-set win over Australia's Damien Schumann and Josh Court.
 
Schumann and Court received three red cards during the match, costing them a point each time.
 
Two of those red cards came in the third set, which they lost 15-12.
 
"I think we handled that situation really well," Watson said.
 
"Typically I'm a person who lets the ref get on top of me, so I just tried to keep out of it and focus on my own game.
 
"We're kind of in the mix to qualify for the World Championships, and if we can do that it's a big step towards qualifying for the Olympics, so that's a big focus for us."
 
The final event of the Grand Slam series will be contested at Perth's Scarborough Beach in March.

Beach finals to push case for Gold Coast 2018

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Volleyball Australia is banking on a big crowd turning out for the final day of the Australian Beach Grand Slam at Surfers Paradise to boost its case for late inclusion in the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Volleyball Australia President, Craig Carracher, has not given up hope of convincing Games organisers to reverse their decision not to include the sport in 2018.
 
"They raised a couple of concerns with our initial bid, and we believe we have addressed those concerns," Carracher said.
 
"If there was any one sport that highlights Australia and it's culture, it's beach volleyball. And we are confident that will be further underlined by a big turnout for Monday's finals.
 
"We will continue to lobby, continue to make the case. We think it makes a lot of sense, we just need to convince the organisers."

The new beach volleyball pairing of Chris McHugh and Bo Soderberg will start favourites to win the men's event on Monday. 

McHugh teamed up with the veteran Soderberg after regular partner, Isaac Kapa, underwent shoulder surgery.

The new pairing tasted immediate success, winning the opening round of the Grand Slam at Manly Beach in November.

But they’ll face a big challenge just to get past the semi-final, with Melbourne-based Josh Court and Damien Schumann in good form this weekend.

Court and Schumann enjoyed some success on the World tour late last year, and are hoping to challenge for Australia’s 2016 Olympic team.

Another team with an eye on Rio, WA’s Casey Grice and Cole Durant, will take on New Zealand’s Mike Watson and Sam O’Dea.

Watson and O’Dea are the dark horses on the Gold Coast, having won the Oceania Championships at Manly in November.

In the women’s draw, teams are taking advantage of the absence of Australia’s top-ranked pair, Louise Bawden and Taliqua Clancy.

World under 23 champions Nikki Laird and Mariafe Artacho del Solar will start slight favourites to take the title.

Olympian Becchara Palmer has been forced to find a new partner for Surfers Paradise, after regular partner Zina Stone was forced through injury to take a break.

26-year-old Palmer, who is hoping to qualify for her second Olympics, has teamed up with Manly Beach’s Katie Bartoli in Queensland, but is on the lookout for a new long-term partner.

Palmer and Bartoli will take on former World junior champion, Alice Rohkamper, and her partner, Sarah Battaglene.

Queensland’s hopes in the women’s draw rest with teenagers Phoebe Bell and Stephanie Weiler.

The men’s final will start at 2pm, with the women set to begin at 3pm.

National Junior Beach Volleyball Development Camp

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On Monday 18 January 39 Girls and 26 Boys aged 13-18 arrived in Brisbane for a National Junior Beach Volleyball development camp.

The athletes and coaches stayed nearby at Griffith University and trained at Nat Cook’s Sandstorm venue.

Volleyball Australia is delighted to announce that Australia’s mens indoor Volleyroos will play host to the World League in 2014 and for the first time in the history of the World League will host the Finals for Group 2. In Pool C of Group 2,  the Volleyroos will be joined by Finland, Belgium and Canada to compete in the intercontinental home and away rounds. The Volleyroos will play 3 home round matches versus Finland at the AIS Arena  on the 7and 8 June, Belgium at the Adelaide Arena on the 27 and 28 June, and Canada at the Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre on the 5 and 6 July. The round games will be followed by the final Final four play off which will include Australia as the host nation to be held at the Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre on the 11 and 12 July. The winner of this Finals series will advance to join the top two from each pool in Group 1 in addition to the hosts Italy.

The Volleyroos stunned the world when they took the number one ranking spot in Asia in 2012 to qualify for the London Olympic Games and narrowly missed a quarter final play off after a stellar performance by the youngest team at the Olympics which included beating world powerhouse Poland. This effort raised the ranking of the Volleyroos from 22 to number 11 in the world. In 2013, Australia played host at the AIS Arena to the Asian World Championship Qualifying tournament which the Volleyroos won to see them advance to the 2014 World Championships to be held in Poland in 2014.

Volleyball Australia President, Craig Carracher said, “We cannot underestimate the significance of Australia competing in and hosting the World League rounds and Finals for the Volleyroos quest to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and for the development and growth of the game in Australia. I would like to  thank the FIVB for their support of Volleyball Australia in once again bringing international matches to our shores and I urge all of Australia to get behind the Volleyroos and cheer them on at their home rounds and in the Final four series”.

Volleyroos Head Coach, the dynamic Jon Uriarte has applauded the efforts of Volleyball Australia to provide the Volleyroos this outstanding opportunity to participate in the World League for the first time since 1999 and to be able to compete against world class competition on home soil. Jon said, “I am thrilled for this opportunity for the team. They are a  young team and continually need to be playing high quality international competitors to give them the best chance of qualifying for Rio 2016 which they will now have!”.

 Volleyball Australia has risen to the challenge of meeting the criteria of podium performances  established by the Australian Institute of Sport under its Winning Edge high performance strategy. Judy Flanagan, Volleyball Australia CEO said, ”With the support of the FIVB,we have set have  an ambitious international hosting agenda to continue to place Australia on the global stage in one of the largest global sports as a force to be reckoned with. There is nothing like playing in front of a large, passionate and vocal home crowd so save the dates in Canberra, Adelaide and Sydney and come on down to  support the Volleyroos in their World League endeavours and their 2016 Rio quest”.

The ticket and corporate box sales program will be announced shortly.

For any queries please contact:

Judy Flanagan

CEO

0407933011

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