NSW Premier launches Manly Volleyfest

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NSW PREMIER JOINED OLYMPIC STARS OF THE PAST AND FUTURE AT VOLLEYFEST LAUNCH ON MANLY BEACH THIS MORNING

NSW Premier, Mike Baird, joined Sydney 2000 Olympic gold medalists, Kerri Pottharst and Natalie Cook, for the media announcement of the biggest beach volleyball event in Australia since the Sydney Olympics.

In the space of just two weeks, Manly Beach will host the Australian Beach Volleyball Tour Finals, the inaugural 4 Nations Cup, and the Asian Volleyball Confederation Beach Volleyball Championships.

Joining Premier Baird and the Olympic gold medalists at the launch this morning were Manly locals Nicole Laird and Mariafe Artacho del Solar, who are hoping to qualify later this year to represent Australia in Beach Volleyball at the Rio Olympics.

The Manly Volleyfest, which will run over three weekends from March 18 until March 28 and will become a regular fixture over the next three years at Manly Beach, thanks to the partnership with the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.

“Volleyfest is a festival of beach volleyball that sees some of the world’s best converge on Manly Beach for nine days of competition. With the Rio Olympics around the corner the competition will be intense, and it will attract visitors to Manly from around Australia and overseas,” Mr. Baird said.

Over the next three years Volleyfest is expected to attract more than 8,000 domestic and international visitors, with an estimated visitor spend of $6.2 million. The event will also showcase Manly Beach to a worldwide audience, highlighting the spectacular beach and surrounds.

Taking place just after the Australian Open of Surfing at Manly Beach, the event will see the Australian Beach Volleyball Tour Finals played from 19-20 March, the 4 Nations Cup played from 21-22 March and the AVC Asian Championships played from 25-28 March.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events and Minister for Sport, Stuart Ayres said the event was perfectly suited to Manly Beach.

“Manly is one of our State’s most iconic beaches, and is the ideal host for Volleyfest. I encourage all visitors to Volleyfest to take some time to explore the area’s restaurants, shops and natural attractions as there is something on offer for all ages and tastes,” Mr. Ayres said.

Volleyball Australia would like to thank the NSW Government, Destination NSW, Manly Council, Hancock Prospecting, the Georgina Hope Foundation, Bendon Lingerie, Three Threes Condiments and the Schwartz Family Company for their on-going support of its beach and indoor programs.

                

TOP VOLLEYROOS ENJOYING THAT WINNING FEELING

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TOP VOLLEYROOS ENJOYING THAT WINNING FEELING

If winning form is good form, than three of our male Volleyroos are in incredible form at the moment.

Volleyroos captain, Tom Edgar, has just helped his new team, Beijing BAIC Volley, to its 16th consecutive win in China.

In Germany, fellow Opposite, Paul Carroll, and his team, SCC Berlin, are tracking at nine wins from nine outings.

And in the Netherlands, Jacob Guymer and his team, Abiant Lycurgus, have just clocked their 14th consecutive victory.

WOMEN VOLLEYROOS HEAD COACH APPOINTED

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Volleyball Australia is proud to announce the appointment of its Head Coach for the Women Volleyroos (indoor team) for the 2016 international season including the FIVB Women’s Grand Prix.

Shannon Winzer has been the coach of the winning WAVL (Women’s Australian Volleyball League) team for the last 3 years, and in 2013 and 2014 also contributed as an Assistant Coach to the Women Volleyroos. She played in the WAVL for 5 years, and was a member of the national team in 2008 and 2009. A Canadian national, she also has playing experience in her home country and the UK.

She will guide the Volleyroos during the FIVB Women’s Grand Prix (Group 3) in June, when they will play against Cuba, Colombia and Croatia in Wollongong from 3-5 June, and against Mexico, Colombia and Kazakhstan in Colombia from 10-12 June, aiming for the finals in Kazakhstan from 17-19 June.

The campaign begins with a camp in Melbourne at the Maribyrnong Academy of Sport and Fairhills High School from 22 to 24 January, followed by camps in Adelaide (February), Sydney (Easter) and Brisbane (April) before some international matches in May.

“Shannon brings both enormous enthusiasm and passion to the Volleyroos campaign, together with significant and sustained success in the WAVL over recent years”, said John Boultbee, VA High Performance Director. “This stood her out in a strong field of international candidates, and provides a role model for Australian based coaches seeking to ply their skills on the international stage. Our best Australian based players have all nominated for the January camp, and will eventually be joined by some of the overseas based players, prior to the World Grand Prix.”

Shannon Winzer commented “I am excited about this opportunity to bring together the best players Australia has to offer and work with them to build a program that we can all be proud of setting the foundation for future success.”

Having reaped two qualification victories on Wednesday to make the 32-team Main Draw, the 31st-seeded Artacho/Laird continued their winning momentum by defeating Germany’s second seeds Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst 2-0 (21-17, 21-19) in the morning and Czech Republic’s 15th seeds Kristyna Kolocova/Marketa Slukova 2-0 (21-16, 24-22) in the afternoon.

“Cool! It feels pretty unbelievable! Our first season, our first Grand Slam, come as qualifiers, it feels pretty unreal,” said Artacho.

The second set of the second round match between Artacho/Laird and Kolocova/Slukova was hotly contested and the Australians withstood two set points to level it at 20-all thanks to a Artacho block against Kolocova. After Artacho beat off the fourth set point of the Czech Republic with another block, an error of Slukova during a long rally awarded Artacho/Laird their first match point and Artacho converted on it with an accurate drop shot.

“It feels pretty unreal, but we came back in the second set. We just stuck together for every point and believed in each other and we can do it,” Artacho added. “I think that the most important thing is to believe in ourselves and say: we can do it, it's possible.”

Laird attributed the surprising wins to their concentration. “It’s our first Grand Slam and it's all a bit overwhelming. So breaking everything down, making it a lit bit smaller, a little bit simpler,” she said. “In the game just play our ball. Last point doesn't matter, the next point doesn't matter, and it’s all about what's happening in that one moment.”

Having secured their berth in the 24-team knock-out stage, Artacho/Laird now put their eyes on the last match and the top place of the pool.

“We always go one step at a time, even breaking the game down, thinking nothing, just one game at a time has helped us come this far,” Artacho said. “We still haven’t finish pool match, so our next goal is to finish atop of our pool. Being that our last game today, we can now switch off, relax and get ready for tomorrow's games.”

Home favorites Xue/Xia also had a fine start on Thursday as they swept Kazakhstan’s Tatyana Mashkova/Irina Tsimbalova 2-0 (21-17, 21-11) before beating Ana Gallay and Georgina Klug of Argentina 2-0 (21-19, 21-19).

“We were satisfied with our play today,“ said Xue, who paired with Xia to take the bronze medal at last week’s season-opening Fuzhou Open. “My partner is very young and we have a lot to improve together, so every match is a good test and challenge for us.“

It’s also the first Grand Slam event for the newly formed Chinese combination and they vowed to do as best as they. “It’s important for us to get more points and this Grand Slam is a great opportunity, we’ll do the best we can,“ Xue added.

Other top teams winning two matches in a row include Walsh/Ross of the United States, Juliana/Antonelli, Talita Antunes/Taiana Lima, Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas De Freitas from Brazil and Germany’s Karla Borger/Britta Buthe, Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler.

Thirty-two teams are playing a single round robin in eight groups with top three finishers from each group to advance to the 24-team knockout stage.

The 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar features a record purse of US$10.2 million with a season that extends from late April to mid-December competing at 21 venues in 18 countries. This year’s FIVB World Tour includes a record 10 FIVB Grand Slam events, the inaugural Grand Slam Finale and 11 FIVB Open Tournaments throughout the world, helping expand the door for development of the sport even further.

The 10 FIVB Grand Slam competitions, all double-gender, have eight with $800,000 in total purses while both The Hague, Netherlands and the Long Beach, Calif., USA event will have $1 million each in prize money, the most in FIVB Grand Slam history.

 

 

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