Aussie quartet set to star at Commonwealth Youth Games
The Opening Ceremony of the 2023 Commonwealth Youth Games takes place early tomorrow morning with four Australian beach volleyballers starting competition the following day.
Victoria’s Mitch Croft was a quarter-finalist at the recent Asian U21 Beach Volleyball Championships and is teaming up with Jett Rocker-Graham from NSW.
Australia will be represented in the women’s event by Jasmine Rayner from Queensland and Cameron Zajer from South Australia.
Croft and Rocker-Graham will face-off in their pool matches against South Africa and St Kitts & Nevis, while Rayner and Zajer will meet England and Rwanda.
The playoff rounds start on Monday (local time) and move through to the medal matches on Thursday 10 August.
“Both teams are looking strong in preparation for the tournament,” said coach Brianna Mears. “This will be their first time competing as a team, so it will be exciting to see their growth throughout the tournament as they strive for gold.”
While the skill of their opposition is as yet an unknown quantity, Mears said there is one clear aim for both Australian teams.
“Going into competition, the goal is to go for gold, one set and one game at a time,” she said. “The athletes will be competing for themselves, each other and Team Australia.
“The teams can expect to battle against some solid opposition in hot and humid conditions, but I am confident that they will dig deep and give their all.
“I’m sure their families, schools, clubs and supporters will be very proud to see them on the sand in Tobago.”
Mears said the Commonwealth Youth Games provides a unique opportunity for the athletes to experience a high level competition where they will be exposed to competitors from around the globe in a host of different sports.
“Being a multi-sport competition, it will be great exposure for the athletes to see how the major Games operate, as well as gain some life-long friendships from other sports,” said Mears. “The Commonwealth Games Australia team has done a fabulous job to ensure the athletes will have a phenomenal experience both in and out of competition.
“Hopefully this experience at the Commonwealth Youth Games will ignite their fire for what is potentially ahead in their volleyball careers.”
This is the seventh staging of the Commonwealth Youth Games, but just the second time beach volleyball will feature.
At Bahamas 2017, the Australian women’s pair of Rebecca Ingram and Carrie van Rensburg combined to claim gold, while Mark Nicolaidis and James Takken took home the bronze medal.
VII Commonwealth Youth Games
Beach Volleyball – Pigeon Point Beach, Tobago
5-11 August 2023
Sunday 6 August
5:30am AEST Mitch Croft/Jett Rocker-Graham v South Africa
7:10am AEST Jasmine Rayner/Cameron Zajer v England
Monday 7 August
5:30am AEST Jasmine Rayner/Cameron Zajer v Rwanda
7:10am AEST Mitch Croft/Jett Rocker-Graham v St Kitts & Nevis
11:00pm AEST Playoff matches
Tuesday 8 August
11pm AEST Quarter-Finals
Wednesday 9 August
11pm AEST Semi-Finals
Friday 11 August
12am AEST Women’s Bronze Medal Match
1am AEST Men’s Bronze Medal Match
5am AEST Women’s Gold Medal Match
6am AEST Men’s Gold Medal Match