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.

Clubs and Associations are critical to the delivery of volleyball and beach volleyball in Australia. As such it is important that they are able to access support and resources to improve their ability to attract players, coaches, officials and administrators and implement improved organisational processes that reflect current best practice in Australian sport.

 

Assistance from Volleyball Australia & affiliated Member States

For assistance in any area relating to club and association development the following volleyball organisations/individuals are available to club and association representatives:

  • Volleyball Australia - Nic Kaiser
  • State Volleyball New South Wales - Michelle Slack-Smith
  • Volleyball ACT - Adam Bradbury
  • Volleyball Northern Territory - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Volleyball Queensland - 
  • Volleyball South Australia - 
  • Volleyball Tasmania - Stephen Ibbott
  • Volleyball Victoria - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Volleyball Western Australia - Max Wason

 

Australian Sports Commission's Club Development Network

Possibly the most comprehensive resource available to assist clubs and associations in Australia is the Australian Sports Commission's Club Development Network. The Club DEvelopment Network is a free web-based program that supports the development and management capacity of sporting clubs and associations. The network helps identify ways in which clubs and associations can be improved so they can provide the best possible service to their members.

Membership benefits include:

  • A simple checklist that helps identify how the club is performing in various aspects of its management and operation, and helps to develop an action plan;
  • Regular updates via the club development electronic newsletter, . The newsletter covers a range of topics dealing with all aspects of running an effective club or association;
  • Access to the web-based Resource Library, which has a wealth of club-friendly resources to help a club or association address its needs; and
  • Resources range from templates for a strategic plan through to fact sheets on how to run a safe sausage sizzle. It is all there waiting for clubs and associations to log on and print.

Membership to the Club Development Network is free and to access a membership for your club or association or to find out further how your club or association can benefit from this program:

  • Go to the Club Development Network Website;
  • Freecall: 1300 130 121; or
  • Email the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

State Offices of Sport & Recreation

Another avenue of support for clubs and associations is government organisations within your State or local area that are responsible for sport development. These organisations can not only provide information, with many provding opportunities for clubs and associations to access financial support for special projects. For further information visit the websites of the State organisations identified below:

 

WOMEN

BEACH

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