Cairns to host Olympic beach volleyball qualifier

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Cairns to host Olympic volleyball qualifier

27 April 2016

A major Olympic Games qualifying event will bring the Asia-Pacific region’s best international volleyball talent to Cairns in June.

Volleyball Australia has today announced that the AVC Beach Volleyball Continental Cup Final will be played on the Cairns Esplanade on 20-26 June.

Mayor Bob Manning said the event was expected to attract 64 teams from eight countries, along with officials and supporters.

“This tournament is a direct qualifier for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, which means we’ll be watching the absolute cream of the sport in action,” Cr Manning said.

“It will be broadcast into 800 million homes in Australia and Asia and help to grow the fantastic sport of volleyball in North Queensland. We thank Volleyball Australia for selecting Cairns to host this event.”

HelloWorld Volleyball Australia Chief Executive Officer, Mathieu Meriaux, said it was exciting to be bringing such a major event to Far North Queensland.

“Volleyball Australia is thrilled to bring world-class beach volleyball to Cairns, with the opportunity for Far North Queensland to witness not only the best HelloWorld Volleyroos, but also the best players from throughout Asia,” Mr Meriaux said.

“We are very grateful for the support shown already by Mayor Bob Manning and the Cairns Regional Council, and believe this will be the start of a long and exciting relationship between Cairns and one of Australia’s most popular sports.

“It is particularly exciting that Cairns will be the launch point for Asia’s best beach volleyballers on their way to the sands of Copacabana Beach.”

Cairns Regional Council supported the bid with a $150,000 contribution, which includes the provision of two specially-built show courts to be constructed adjacent to the existing Esplanade courts.

Six hundred cubic metres of sand will be brought in to create the 30m x 50m courts, which will be accompanied by a 1000-seat temporary grandstand.

Cr Manning said the investment was a good fit for the city.

“Given Cairns’ waterfront location, our city naturally extends itself to water or beach sports, in particular beach volleyball,” Cr Manning said.

“Through the hosting of this event, we hope to forge a relationship with Volleyball Australia that will lead to other opportunities to host national and international level volleyball here in Cairns.”

Volleyroos arrive in Italy with eye on Rio

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VOLLEYROOS COME TOGETHER WITH FOCUS ON TICKET TO RIO

For the third time in his volleyball career, Nathan Roberts turned up for a pre-Olympic training camp on the weekend.

The first time was 2004, when as an 18-year-old newbie he failed to make the cut for the final team.

Eight years later it was pre-London, and this time there was a happy ending. Roberts made the squad, and made his Olympic debut months later.

This time he’s very much the veteran, but at 30 he’s hardly in the old timer’s league.

Nonetheless, it’s a minor miracle Roberts is even in the running for Rio. The past couple of years, to put it mildly, have been horrendous.

“Since London, I hurt my knee in 2013 and that took a good year and a half to get better, and then I tore my calf, and that took a couple of months to get better, and then I had an issue with my elbow for the past 12 to 15 months,” he said.

“So it’s been a roller-coaster that has mainly been at the lower level, but hopefully the elbow feels alright, I still manage it a bit, but the surgery went really well.

Hopefully I’ll get a good couple of months training in before the qualifiers.”

This week members of the HelloWorld Volleyroos squad started rolling in from points all over the globe to the AIS training facility in Varesse, Italy.

They did the same thing four years ago, and that worked out well.

“Hopefully it’s a lucky charm,” Roberts said.

“We’re all pretty stoked to see each other again, and to hang out with the guys and speak some English.

“We’ve got some practice matches coming up against Norway, and then Italy, and we’re training three times a day, so there’s a fair bit going on.”

The full squad won’t get together for a couple of weeks yet, as several players are still involved in their domestic competitions.

But Italian-born Volleyroos coach, Roberto Santilli, is leaving no stone unturned preparing his team for the biggest challenge since taking over the role 14 months ago – Olympic qualification.

To get there Australia will need to finish top three at next month’s qualifier in Japan, or be at least the top-ranked Asian team.

Australia’s form against the top Asian teams in recent years has been patchy, but Roberts believes the Volleyroos have improved a lot.

“I don’t think we did that well at Asian Champs last year, or certainly not as well as we hoped, and we had mixed results at the World Cup,” he said.

“It certainly means we are not the favourites going into the tournament, which is just the way we like it.

“I don’t think anyone would discount anyone, but I think we have a lot more improvement than a lot of the other teams.”

Also working in the favour of the HelloWorld Volleyroos has been the exposure to top level volleyball.

Since London the men’s team has had two seasons in the prestigious World League, including last year in Group One alongside Brazil, Italy and Serbia.

It’s the sort of preparation veterans like Roberts only dreamed about before 2012.

“I think World League has been huge,” he said.

“I had eight or nine years without playing teams in World League, but the young guys who are coming through now are getting time against quality opposition.

“In terms of preparation, it’s a real step up to be playing against teams like Brazil.”

Roberts is easily the most experienced member of the team, and even though he hasn’t been officially given a mentoring role, he’s happy to use his experience to help guide younger team members.

“Since 2010 I’ve been one of the oldest guys in the team, so it’s nothing new,” he said.

“I really enjoy seeing the young guys come in and play their first matches, and score their first points, so I’m happy to help guide them if they’ll listen to me.”

ANOTHER DOUBLE GOLD BUT THIS TIME WITH NEW FACES

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STUNNING START FOR NEW AUSTRALIAN BEACH COMBINATION

Australian beach volleyballers Becchara Palmer and Phoebe Bell, playing in their first tournament together, have pulled off a stunning victory in the Palembang Open in Indonesia.

Along the route to victory 2012 Olympian Palmer and teenager Bell beat fellow Australians, Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Nikki Laird, and in doing so denied them the chance of a hat-trick of Asian tour titles.

Meanwhile it was a return to the winner’s circle for Australia’s Isaac Kapa and Chris McHugh in the men’s competition.

The Australians, who won the Pak Bara Open in Thailand two weeks ago before losing last weekend’s Samila Open, had an incredible tussle against Kazakhstan’s Alexey Kuleshov and Dmitriy Yakovlev.

After taking the opening set, they were then outplayed in the second, before clawing their way to victory in a tense final set 21-16, 15-21, 20-18.

12 months ago Bell and Palmer were playing for the Australian women’s indoor team.

But while Palmer, who competed at the London 2012 Olympics alongside Louise Bawden, returned to beach volleyball at the start of the Australian summer, 19-year-old Bell has only recently committed to the beach program.

“We’re pretty chuffed,” Palmer said.

“Our tournament was run game-by-game. We knew what we wanted to create, and it only took us a few games to start seeing it

“But once it clicked, it clicked.”

Bell and Palmer beat del Solar and Laird 21-18, 21-17 in the semi-finals, and were then too strong for Kazakhstan’s Tatiana Mashkova and Irina Tsimbalova 22-20, 21-14 in the final.

Their victory adds intrigue to June’s Asian Olympic beach qualifiers, with Australia hoping to qualify a men’s and women’s team for Rio.

While del Solar and Lair are considered the front runners should Australia be successful, the form of Bell and Palmer shows it will not be straightforward.

CARRACHER

President: 
Craig Carracher

Craig has previously been a director of Volleyball Australia from 1996 to 1999 and was CEO during that period ahead of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. During his time with volleyball Australia he was also the promoter of the Australian Beach Volleyball Tour from 1999 to 2001 and has been involved with the Northern Beaches Volleyball Association based at Manly Beach since 1990. Craig rejoined the board in 2011 and is now President of Oceania Volleyball, Executive Vice President Asian Volleyball Confederation and a director of FIVB, International Volleyball Federation. Craig is also on the Board of the Australian Olympic Committee. Craig obtained an LLB with first class honours and the University Medal from Sydney University Law School and a first class honours degree and the University Blue from Magdalen College, Oxford University.

 

 

PALM

Vice President:
Anita Palm

Anita has extensive experience of multi-sport events through involvement at both event, planning and bidding stages of previous Olympics in Beijing and Sydney and the bid stages of London and Rio. This consultative work has included work on both the Olympics and Paralympics and has been crucial to the department planning, especially in the areas of sport from scheduling, through to entries, sport production, organisational integration and results. She is herself an Olympian. Anita is currently Head of Sport – Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation.

 

 

Borgeaud

Vice President:
Malcolm H Borgeaud B Com (with Distinction) FCPA MAICD

Malcolm has over a decade of experience in middle and senior management roles with an international sales and marketing company and twenty years experience in public accounting practice, with 14 as a principal. He brings to the Board a wealth of not-for-profit-governance and financial experience having been involved either at Board level, in tax and accounting advisory or audit roles for numerous not-for-profits, including charities and sporting bodies. He has served as Chairman on State and National Committees for CPA Australia and currently serves on their Environmental, Social and Governance Centre of Excellence providing CPA Australia and its 180,000 members with advice and direction on current environmental, corporate social responsibility and corporate governance issues. He also currently serves on the Boards of a number of not-for-profit organisations. Malcolm loves Volleyball, having played in the U20’s for Australia in the Pac Rim Tournament in 1978. 

 

TAYEH

Finance Director:
Riad Tayeh

A member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia Riad has been the VA Finance Director since 1999. He is a member of both the FIVB Finance Commission and AVC Finance Commission.

 

 

  

  

POTTHARST

Director:
Kerri Pottharst

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOLMES

Director:
Tracey Holmes

For the past 25 years Tracey Holmes has worked in journalism and communications, working with some of the world’s most respected media platforms – CNN International, Dubai Eye, CCTV China, Foxtel, SBS and the ABC. One of Tracey’s first tours of duty following her sports broadcasting cadetship at the ABC was to anchor ABC TV's coverage of the Australian World Series Beach Volleyball Tour. An award-winning interviewer, Tracey has sat down and drawn the best out of a collection of the world's most interesting people - from Prime Ministers to Presidents, Kings and Sheikhs, from awe inspiring athletes to challenging and thought provoking academics, from legendary entertainers to the most ordinary men and women in the street. Tracey's passion for sport has seen her cover 10 Olympic Games. She's been a broadcast mentor for the IOC's Young Reporter Program at each of the three editions of the Youth Olympic Games. Currently Tracey is an ABC presenter and senior reporter, host of The Ticket on ABC News Radio, and frequent writer for The Drum.

 

SCOTFORD

Director:
Andrew Scotford

Andrew has spent the past 20 years in various roles in sport including over 7 years as the General Manager of Volleyball Australia from 2000 to 2007. This period has seen him in leadership roles and national, state and local across a variety of sports including Cricket, AFL and Basketball. He also has a passion about sports officiating and continues to both officiate and coach others in numerous sports including Volleyball and Beach Volleyball. Outside of his sports interest he currently works as a Student Support Manager with the Canberra Institute of Technology Student Association and is also a board member of the Tertiary Access Group, a cooperative buying group in the tertiary education sector.

 

 

MERIAUX

Secretary General (ex oficio):
Mathieu Meriaux - VA Chief Executive Officer

Mathieu joined VA in March 2013 as the Competitions and Events Manager and was appointed CEO in April 2014. Mat has a strong background in the management of diverse and complex projects and events. Mat was previously General Manager for Triathlon ACT and was an event planner for the London Olympic and Paralympics Games. He holds a degree in Sports Science and is completing a double Masters in Business Administration and Politics.

 

 

 

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