Olympic hopefuls look to make their mark on Cook Islands



Even though there’s nothing riding on this week’s Oceania Olympic qualification tournament in the Cook Islands for Australia, four teams who are hoping to make it to Rio next year are looking to make a statement.

The Cook Islands event acts as a qualifier for the Asian Olympic qualifiers next year, but as host nation Australia will be guaranteed starts.

Four Australian teams, two men and two women, are competing at Raratonga, including Australia’s world U23 champions, Nikki Laird and Mariafe Artacho del Solar.

“This tournament is the best opportunity to prepare for the Asian Continental Cup in June next year, as its the only other time we'll play a tournament of the same style,” Laird said.

“We're going into it with the same approach we'd look to take in the final tournament, so we can see what areas we still need the most improvement in to be successful when it really counts.”

Australia’s top-rated women’s team of Louise Bawden and Taliqua Clancy are practically guaranteed a Rio position because of their current world ranking, throwing the race wide open for a potential second Australian team.

2012 Olympian, Becchara Palmer, who played with Bawden in London, is playing with Queensland’s Jordan Mowen in Raratonga.

“I think that although we are still a fairly new pairing, we made some good progress on the Asian Tour so we would like to build on from that,” Mowen said.

“It is also a very new but exciting experience to be playing as a "big" team with the other girls, so we would like to contribute our best performance so we can all reap the benefits.”

In the men’s competition, former Danish international Bo Soderberg and Perth’s Cole Durant will be looking to build on their exciting early results since coming together as a pair in recent months.

“It's a really cool format because it's not just about me or my team, it's about the greater Australian team and the whole sport of beach volleyball in Australia,” Durant said.

“Earning an Olympic spot is very important for our sport’s future, and of course winning this tournament puts us in the best position to win the golden ticket in June.

“I feel a bigger sense of selflessness or responsibility to perform well for our country but still just excited to compete against quality opposition in an amazing country. I'm looking forward to just stepping on court, battling it out and hopefully representing Australia with pride.”

Australia’s second men’s team, Melbourne-based Joshua Court and Damien Schumann, will be looking to build on some reasonable recent results in Indonesia and Turkey.

The Australian teams begin their Oceania campaigns on Wednesday, Australian time.




Volleyball Australia (VA) is seeking Expressions of Interest from suitably qualified coaches for the following important national positions.




Get more information here.

Schwartz family join Volleyball Australia team


Jerry Schwartz aims to revive Sydney 2000 spirit with partnership of Australian Volleyball.

13 October 2015: Tourism and hospitality entrepreneur, Dr Jerry Schwartz, announced today that the Schwartz Family Company would become a major sponsor of Volleyball Australia as the sport attempts to revive the highs achieved during the 2000 Olympics.

The sponsorship was announced today at Parliament House, with NSW Premier Mike Baird welcoming Dr Schwartz's support for the sport as it gears up to challenge for gold in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Dr Schwartz, who is Australia's largest private owner of hotels in Australia, is already a major sporting supporter, keen philanthropist and supporter of charities across the State.

The sponsorship will cover all aspects of volleyball - indoor and beach volleyball, women's, men's and junior.

He joins other major partners of the sport including Mrs Gina Rinehart and Bendon Lingerie manufacturer, Eric Watson.

"Who can forget the impact our women's beach volleyball team made to the success of Sydney's Olympic Games in 2000?" said Dr Schwartz.

"The tournament captured everything that is good about Sydney and as we head down the road to Rio, we need to recapture that spirit and vitality. A successful competition on the sand in Rio will be an enormous advertisement for Australia's beach and sporting culture.

"Our beach volleyball team is ranked in the top 5 in the world, and with extra resources we can get back to our gold status.

"In particular, this support will boost women's sport. So much sporting investment favours traditionally male sports, whereas volleyball has a strong focus on women and girls, and they deserve greater support."

Volleyball Australia President, Craig Carracher, said the generous support of the Schwartz Family Company comes at an exciting time for the sport in Australia.

“Our beach teams, and our women in particular, are currently among the best in the world, while our men’s indoor team is on the verge of an exciting Rio qualifying campaign,” Mr Carracher said.

“Our women’s indoor program has been re-launched after years of little government funding, and we have some of the biggest junior sports programs in Australia.

“None of this is possible without the support of people like Dr Jerry Schwartz. It is fantastic to have someone with his vision and generosity on board.”

Volleyball Australia Chief Commercial Officer, Rod Harys, said Australian businesses were recognising what the sport has to offer.

“Volleyball is the most gender equal sport in the world, it is one of the most popular sports in the world, and whether it is indoor or beach, it is a thrilling sport to watch,” Mr Harys said.

“Having the support of sponsors of the calibre of the Schwartz Family Company, Mrs Gina Rinehart and Bendon, and the recent signing of Three Threes Condiments, Mightymite, Hope Estate Wines, Sunland, Mitronics and Sails Restaurant Group underlines that this is a sport going forward.

“And that will be further exemplified on the sand of Copacabana Beach and in a Maracana stadium next year. It is an exciting time for beach and indoor volleyball.”




Job Title:

Community Development Manager – Pacific Region

Reports to:

Chief Executive Officer – Australian Volleyball Federation


Canberra. Other locations will be considered upon application.

The Organisation

Volleyball Australia (VA) is the peak body for the administration of the sport of Volleyball in Australia. VA’s Mission is to lead, partner and support the growth in participation, performance and profile of the sport in Australia.

VA is managing a grant from the Australian Government to support volleyball’s Pacific regional and national sports federations to achieve the following objectives; increased levels of regular participation of Pacific islanders, including people with disability, in quality sport activities; and, improved health-related behaviours of Pacific islanders which impact on NCD risk factors, focusing on increasing levels of physical activity.

Project Overview



To contribute to increasing the number of Pacific Island women (including those women with disability) aged 13 – 40 participating in moderate physical activity at least twice a week.



CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT  - Four Pacific Island Volleyball Federations have a strategy, skills, staff, structure, resources and systems to run participation-based programs for women aged 13 – 40 in peri urban and rural areas.

PURPOSEFULLY DESIGNED SPORT ACTIVITIES AND PROGRAMS – Women aged 13 – 40 and gatekeepers to their participation consider volleyball activities to be safe, challenging, fun, well organized and designed to meet the participants’ specific needs.

PARTNERSHIPS - Relationships that contribute to achieving the objectives are developed with local and regional organisations.

PROFILE - Participating in Pacific Volleyball Partnership is regarded as important ways to spend time and the volleyball federation is perceived by partners and other key stakeholders to be an effective, well managed, trustworthy organization.


Outcome Indicators

  • All Pacific Island Volleyball Federations show increased performance against capacity indicators in the capacity framework.
  • 20% more (compared to the baseline) of the target demographic participate in moderate physical activity at least twice a week for at least 16 weeks (2 rounds of the program).
  • 80% of women indicate they will participate again or recommend participation to others. 
  • 60% of women participate in 3 rounds or more of the program.
  • 90% of women report feeling safe and included while participating in the program (including travelling to the program)
  • Regional and national partnerships exist with organisations that convene the target demographic.
  • Partners, gatekeepers and key stakeholders perceive volleyball programs to be effective, well-managed, trustworthy organization.

Target Beneficiaries


Women aged 13 – 40 in rural communities

PVP is delivered via a partnership between the Volleyball Australia, Oceania Zonal Volleyball Association, Vanuatu Volleyball Federation, Solomon Islands Volleyball Federation, Fiji Volleyball Federation and Kiribati Volleyball Federation.

Further Information





The Australian Government’s investments in sport for development: http://www.ausport.gov.au/supporting/international

Information on the Pacific Sports Partnerships: http://www.ausport.gov.au/supporting/international/programs/pacific_sports_partnerships

Information on sport as a tool for community development: http://www.sportanddev.org

Job Purpose

To manage the development and delivery of the Pacific Volleyball Partnerships program.

Job Responsibilities

  1. Lead and manage the development and implementation of the Pacific Volleyball Partnership as outlined in the 4-year strategy and 1-year work plan.
  2. Build strong relationships with the funding agency, other sports in the Pacific Sport Partnership program, state associations, Pacific Island Volleyball Federations, OZVA and key stakeholders to support the achievement of the Pacific Volleyball Partnership outcomes.
  3. Provide well-constructed reports including evaluations and reviews in line with VA Board, ASC, CEO and stakeholder requirements;
  4. Represent VA effectively in relevant forums;
  5. Promote and role model the VA values of inclusivity, equity, respect, pride, integrity and commitment and contribute to positive organisational culture and continuous improvement

Qualifications and Experience

  • Tertiary qualifications and demonstrated experience in community development, sports management or health promotion.
  • Experience in managing authentic partnerships in a range of sectors including government organisations, United Nations agencies, non- government organisations, sports federations and the private sector.
  • Ability to implement a program that uses sport to contribute to specific development outcomes including the Millennium Development Goals.
  • Ability to guide and support Pacific Island organisations in a process to create effective child protection and gender inclusion strategies.
  • Strong experience and technical skills in development processes including participatory design, project cycle management, logical framework approaches, monitoring and evaluation and behaviour change.
  • Experience in recruiting and managing remotely based staff.
  • Demonstrated capacity to provide balanced and concise advice to inform Board and senior management in relation to decision making

Knowledge and Skills

  • Highly developed strategic thinking skills including the ability to analyse and identify issues and implications and propose solutions; and
  • Strong interpersonal skills including emotional intelligence, cross-cultural communication and a sense of ethics and diplomacy.

Personal Attributes

  • Demonstrated commitment, drive and initiative with the ability to work independently and inter-dependently as a leader and manager; and
  • Demonstrated capacity to work as a productive member of a multi-functional team to achieve common goals, share information, support others and show consideration for alternate ideas and solutions

Direct Reports

In-country program managers (Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Fiji and Kiribati)

Budget Management

AUD $290,000

Contract Length

The position contract will be until the 30th of June 2015, with the possibility of extension.

Working Conditions

This position will involve regular international travel to the Pacific region (6 or more trips/year for 1 – 2 weeks) and some domestic travel.  It may require work during weekends or outside ordinary work hours.

Information for Applying:

Applications are due by 5pm 26th September, 2014.

Please send a cover letter and resume to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Please email queries to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  





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