Aussies meet their next Challenge in Chiang Mai
The penultimate Beach Pro Tour Challenge event for 2023 takes place this weekend in Thailand with two Australian teams taking to the court in Chiang Mai.
Mark Nicolaidis and Izac Carracher will take place in qualifying from Thursday in an attempt to join Tom Hodges and Zac Schubert in the main draw.
The event is another chance to secure vital rankings points as they look to strengthen their ranking towards earning an Olympic quota.
Both teams have had busy schedules over the last seven weeks. Along with two other Challenge events in India and China, the Australian duos have also competed in an Elite16 event in Paris on top of the World Championships in Mexico.
Hodges and Schubert are coming off a last-start bronze medal in Haikou, and believe after some well-earned recovery time and another solid block on the sand, that they are ready for another big event this week.
“China was amazing,” said Schubert. “We had a couple days home after India which was a great rest, then China delivered a great event for us.
“It was super hard sand, hot and windy; we love those conditions, so it was great to get another medal at the event.
“We then had a couple days off in Thailand before joining a training camp with some other teams and are now ready to compete in Chiang Mai.
“This city has amazing coffee so we feel right at home – keen to compete again!”
Qualifying starts on Thursday afternoon with Nicolaidis and Carracher taking on Japan’s Ryo Shindo and Shuma Watanabe from 4pm AEDT.
If they win that match, they will play off for a place in the main draw against either Timothy Brewster and Kyle Friend (USA) or another Japanes pair in Yusuke Ishijima and Takumi Takahashi.
Following the tournament in Thailand, both teams will head to Victoria to take part in the Beach Pro Tour as part of Geelong Beach Volleyfest.