Beach ParaVolley team set to create history in Canberra
A trio of talented sportswomen will step onto uncharted sand this week at the Australian Beach Volleyball Tour event in Canberra, simply by taking part.
Carly Salmon, Jess Bayiartakis and Evie Ruffle are members of the Australian Women’s Beach ParaVolley Team, however they will line up in the able-bodied draw of this week’s women’s challenger event. It is the first time the team will have competed in a tournament.
“We are lucky enough to have an agreement with Volleyball Australia to allow our Beach ParaVolleyballers to compete as a team of three in tournaments against able-bodied pairs,” said Nick Coburn, Australian Beach ParaVolley Team Manager.
“The great thing about our sport is we use the same rules, courts and balls as the able-bodied game, we just have an extra player.”
The Aussie trio competing in Canberra first came together at a national camp in September and were a clear choice to be selected in the first women’s team.
Hailing from Queensland, Ruffle is the most experienced volleyballer in the team, having played in the Victorian State Open and a Queensland Beach Volleyball Tour event.
Victoria’s Jess Bayiartakis is embarking on her Beach ParaVolley career alongside sport climbing, where she was recently selected to the 2023 Australian Paraclimbing Team.
Carly Salmon knows what it takes to make it on the international stage, having won a bronze medal in the T35 200m at the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships in France as a 14-year-old. She has gone on to compete at a number of other World Championships and finished just off the podium at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
Switching her attention away from the track, Salmon is now a midfielder within the ParaMatildas football squad as well as being a member of the Australian Beach ParaVolley team.
“I am good mates with a few girls in the Volleyroos team so they told me about the squad and encouraged me to give it a try,” said Salmon, who thinks the trio’s inclusion is a great opportunity for them to grow as a team, but also to promote the sport.
“I met the other two incredible ladies at my first training camp at the AIS in September,” she said. “I am so grateful to have the opportunity to be part of this event (ABVT).
“I believe it will be a great way to showcase the growing potential of this Para sport.”
“I’m also bloody excited to give the able-bodied athletes a run for their money!” she said.
Round 2 of the Australian Beach Volleyball Tour takes place at the Lyneham Beach Courts in Canberra on Friday 27 to Sunday 29 January. Round 1 of the Australian Junior Beach Volleyball Tour (U19/U21) will precede the event on Thursday and Friday.