Aussies on fire with Pacific Games gold and BPT silver
Australia’s beach volleyballers have capped off a memorable month with another weekend of success on the global stage.
Following the roaring success of Geelong Beach Volleyfest where Australian team’s claimed the men’s and women’s Beach Pro Tour titles, more podium appearances were still to come..
In the Solomon Islands, Stefie Fejes Jana Milutinovic didn’t drop a set on their way to Pacific Games gold, while Ben Hood and D’Artagnan Potts came from a set down in final to score a double victory for the green and gold.
Meanwhile in the Philippines, Zac Schubert and Tom Hodges progressed all the way to the decider of the final Beach Pro Tour Challenge event of 2023, ending up with the silver medal.
For the athletes at the Pacific Games, the chance to be part of a multi-sport event in a team brought together by the Australian Olympic Committee was a rare experience.
“It feels amazing, we’re so happy and really proud,” said Fejes. “It’s been the most amazing experience, this is the first multi-sport event we’ve been to, it’s so much bigger than just us, we’re competing for Australia as part of a bigger team and it feels really special.
“It’s awesome to have these Aussies come down to watch some volleyball and cheer for us, we really appreciate their support.”
After their three-set win in the gold medal match, Hood reflected on what it meant to dig deep and win in front of a vocal Aussie contingent which included a number of athletes from athletics and boxing.
“To wear the green and gold is a privilege, really happy to get the win,” Ben said. “It was awesome to see a big crowd of Aussies coming down to support us – for some of them it was their first time seeing beach volleyball live, glad we could get the win in front of them.
In Nuvali, Schubert and Hodges completed a full set of medals from the Beach Pro Tour Challenge season, having won in Latvia in June and claiming bronze in China last month.
It has completed an impressive season on the Challenge circuit. for the pair having also made two quarter-finals and a further three top 10 finishes. Throwing in victory at the Asian Championships and equal ninth at the World Championships, Schubert and Hodges are giving themselves the best possible opportunity to push for a ticket to Paris next year.
The focus now turns to the final event of the season when the Beach Pro Tour Finals will take place later this week in Doha.
The Finals see the top 16 teams from the season play for glory, with Australia represented by Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy.
The Olympic silver medallists haven’t missed the top 10 at any event this year, including three podium finishes at Elite16 level and a fourth place at the World Championships.