Gamble pays off for Bawden and Clancy



Playing in Fort Lauderdale would have been more lucrative, would have given them more experience against top class opposition, but in the end the decision for Australian beach volleyballers Louise Bawden and Taliqua Clancy was simple.

"We as a team are supported to represent Australia, and to represent the Australian beach volleyball high performance program," Bawden said after successfully defending their Asian beach title in Hong Kong.

"We want to represent our country whenever and wherever we can. And this was a great opportunity."

While Bawden and Clancy were busy seeing off the best teams Asia and Oceania have to offer on the weekend, most of the world's best teams were competing in the season-ending World Tour event in Fort Lauderdale.

And when they beat the well regarded Vanuatu pair of Linline Matauatu and Miller Pata to win gold on Sunday, Bawden knew they’d made the right decision.

Bawden admits the Fort Lauderdale event did have attractions. The prizemoney was good, and the format where you are guaranteed of playing at least four of the best teams in the world were also enticing.

But the event carried no world ranking points, and less than 12 months out from Rio, its ranking points that are important.

The Asian Championships did carry points. It was Bawden and Clancy’s 11th ranking tournament of the year, meaning they only have to play one more before they can start culling their worst results.

Not that they’ve had many this year. It’s been a big 2015, that has propelled the Australians into the world top ten and almost guaranteed their country a place at Copacabana Beach next year.

“I could reel off the top of my head two or three match results this year that went down to the wire and went against us,” Bawden said from Hong Kong.

“Those results could have changed where we are, so it still burns in my chest. We always want more, and you’re only ever as good as your next performance.”

“But at least now we can prioritise next year. We can focus on our game rather than earning points.”

It’s a dream position for the Adelaide-based pair to fins themselves in. Bawden admits that financially she’s in the best position she’s ever been in her professional sporting career, and she can now take some time off before a full-on assault on Rio next year.

And while admitting to being a bit sick of airport lounges and long-haul flights, both she and Clancy will be heading back to Europe at Christmas time for the wedding off their team masseuse.

Bawden will be MC, and chief pie-watcher.

“We can’t ever switch off, certainly not at this stage,” she laughs.

“We have to watch how many mince pies are flying around.”

Australia’s Nicole Laird and Mariafe Artacho del Solar won bronze in Hong Kong to make it an all-Oceania podium at the Asian Championships.

Women's Indoor - Centre Of Excellence



VA seeks to establish a Centre of Excellence in Women’s Indoor Volleyball to be the home of the National Team (the Volleyroos) and the Centre of Excellence for the development of the most talented female players aspiring to be selected in the Volleyroos. It would be conducted under the same model as the VA Centre of Excellence for Men’s Indoor Volleyball, based at the AIS in Canberra. The Centre of Excellence would be a partnership between VA, the relevant State Volleyball Association, and a third party host/provider.

VA is seeking Expressions of Interest from various organisations and bodies who may be interested in hosting the Centre of Excellence.

More information can be found here.

Volleyball stars of future head to Canberra



Volleyball teams from all over Australasia will converge on Canberra this week for the Australian Junior Volleyball Championships, with Queensland looking to continue its domination of the 26-year-old event.

A total of 43 teams, including from New Zealand, will compete in U17 Challenger and Champions, and U19 Champions divisions.

Teams from Queensland have won the coveted Presidents Cup title in eight of the past nine years.

Victoria broke Queensland’s domination in 2012.

Several former and current Australian Olympians have played at the Australian Championships, and this year’s event is once again expected to unearth stars of the future.

This will be the third year the Championships will be held at the Australian Institute of Sport, the home of the Volleyroos.

Matches start on Monday, September 28, with the finals on Saturday, October 3.


Australian volleyball coach Roberto Santilli has urged his team to focus on their final three games at the 2015 World Cup, after losing in straight sets to Poland in Toyama, Japan.

The Australians have won just the one game so far in Japan, but will head to Tokyo this weekend for three winnable games against Iran, Tunisia and Venezuela.

The Volleyroos were outplayed by Poland, one of only two teams still undefeated at the World Cup, losing 25-15, 25-22, 25-17.

“Today we just watched a senior team against a junior team,” Santilli said.

“Of course, they had a big defence, especially on serve and reception. We tried to let some guys play who normally don’t play a lot. We did what we could.

“Of course, we cannot be satisfied but we have to look at our target which is the next three games. We just have to turn the page and focus on the next three games.”

There were some positive signs for the Volleyroos, most notably the performances of Libero Luke Perry and middle blocker, Nehemiah Mote, two of the youngest members of the Australian team.

Captain Thomas Edgar led the scoring with 17 points, and also urged his team to finish the World Cup strongly.

“Our focus has to switch now to three very important games in Tokyo to round out this tournament,” he said.

“We need to play well not only against Iran, but also against the other two opponents, so I hope we can finish the tournament on a high and keep improving for the future.”

The top two teams at the World Cup will automatically qualify for Rio next year, with the undefeated Poland and USA currently in the box seat.

The Volleyroos will return to Japan next year for a final qualifying event. 



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