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.

ABVC President's Update – November 2013

Over the past few months, while winter set in and our top men's and women's teams had one of their most successful seasons on the World Tour, the Australian Beach Volleyball Committee has been quietly working behind the scenes on various issues aimed at developing, maintaining and improving the sport.

Renault National Beach Volleyball Series

Following on from a successful 2013 Renault National Beach Volleyball Series, one of our members - Marta Makuch, developed a survey which was distributed to all players and staff to pull in real and honest feedback on how the Tour was perceived and suggestions on how we could make it better. All of the feedback was taken on board and many changes and improvements have been adopted.

With the employment of a new VA Events Manager comes a steep learning curve. So, over the past few months our entire Events Sub committee (Baz Wedmaier, Greg Jury, Marta Makuch and Al Hinchley) have greatly assisted Mat Meriaux, with many aspects of the upcoming National Tour. Specifically, Baz has produced the 2014 Hand Book and Greg and Al are assisting VA in the development of the National Ranking System.

Two of our members, Kerri Pottharst (President) and Aaron Crook (Representing the Players) were also involved in the planning meeting for the 2014 Renault National Beach Volleyball Series, from which a suggestion was raised to trial a new format. Aaron took that to the players and the feedback was almost 100% for the trial. We aim to trial the format at the first event in Glenelg, Jan 2014.

High Performance Program

With the advent of the Australian Sport's Commission's new Winning Edge program, Volleyball Australia has taken over the running of the High Performance program with much excitement. This responsibility has come with a necessity to re energise our current program and in doing so, Volleyball Australia sought the advice, experience and guidance from many of our members in helping to build an exciting new and sustainable system. An overview of the new system will be posted shortly on the VA website with an announcement of the posting sent out through the VA social media channels.

ABVC Structure

Finally, there has been some movement of positions within the ABVC. We were sad to lose Jonathon Fogarty from his board representative Chairman's position. Jonathon was not re-elected to the board of Volleyball Australia and chose to step down from the commission. Also resigning from the Commission was Andrew Scotford (other commitments) and Shaun Docherty (Relocating back to Canada.) Catriona Tweedie has stepped down from the Chair of the Particpation/Grass Roots sub committee, but will remain on the commission as a member.

We'd like to thank all of these members for giving up their time and being passionate about the sport they love. We wish them all well in their new endeavours.

Replacing Jonathon as VA's board representative is 1996 Beach Volleyball Olympian, Anita Palm.

We all look forward to a great season in 2014 and wish all of our athletes, coaches and administrators a very Merry Christmas with much good health and happiness in the New Year.

See you all on the sand

Kerri Pottharst

President

CEO Judy Flanagan wishes to thank all current and past members of the ABVC for their passion and commitment to working with VA to continue to develop and grow the great sport of Beach Volleyball. Judy said ‘VA is continuing to drive a significant change agenda that benefits all participants in Beach Volleyball and the ABVC have been integral in supporting this agenda. I would like to acknowledge the goodwill and personal time that ABVC members are contributing in this regard.

WOMEN

BEACH

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